Last year was the best year for affordable housing in New York City in a long time – 27 years, to be exact. Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Thursday that the city constructed or preserved more than 21,000 units of low- and middle-income housing in 2016, the most annually since 1989, according to The New York Times.
Of those additions, one-fifth were earmarked for households bringing in less than $25,000 annually. Thirty-five percent went to those making up to $40,800. Overall, more than 6,800 units were in new buildings.
- Rising population levels, an increase in high-end residential development and persistent homelessness has long made equitable housing a difficult topic for New York City officials to address, the Times reported. In the last three years, however, the city has financed the construction or renovation of 62,506 affordable apartments.
The news follows de Blasio’s pledge to provide 200,000 new or existing affordable housing units in New York City in roughly the next decade. The confluence of factors including a growing population and limited inventory is forcing city officials to seek new ways to meet this goal.
Last month, the New York City Council approved four new low- and middle-income housing developments in East Harlem and the Bronx. The two largest will add more than 2,000 units combined.
In November, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo cleared the way for an additional $300 million in tax-exempt federal bonds to subsidize new and existing affordable housing. The move increases the total value of the city’s state-allocated bonding authority to a decade high of $771 million, which could bring 6,000 units to the market.
That followed a deal by the Real Estate Board of New York and state and union officials to bring back the city’s 421-a tax break. Under the new terms, developers would get a 35-year tax break in exchange for making 20% of a project’s units available to low- to moderate-income tenants; the new plan also would implement a tiered wage structure based on project location. However, the credit faces hurdles on the way to approval by the New York State Legislature.
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