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Bold de Blasio adds 160,000 units to housing ‘to do’ list

By Dan Orlando

Mayor Bill de Blasio
Mayor Bill de Blasio

The Real Estate Board of New York yesterday (Tuesday) applauded Mayor de Blasio’s call to strengthen his affordable housing plan by a further 160,000 units.

Calling the decision “bold,ˮ REBNY president Steve Spinola said the mayor’s call for an additional 160,000 market-rate units, above and beyond the 200,000 affordable units the administration plans to build or preserve over the next decade, “will go a long way to keeping New York the greatest city in the world in which to live, work, and raise a family.”

De Blasio began his campaign by promising the original 200,000 units of affordable living space, but Tuesday’s demand for a new wave of market rate properties is an answer to the dwindling supply and surging prices that face the city’s residential marketplace.

“Building more new market rate and affordable housing, and preserving and enhancing our current inventory of affordable housing is the only way to address our decades-long housing shortage,” said Spinola.

STEVEN SPINOLA
STEVEN SPINOLA

During his address, de Blasio warned, “If we fail to be a city for everyone, we risk losing what makes New York, New York. And nothing more clearly expresses the inequality gap — the opportunity gap — than the soaring cost of housing.ˮ

Kathryn Wylde, president & CEO of the Partnership for New York City, commented, “The high volume of affordable housing production achieved during the Koch era was the result of robust public-private partnerships.

“A collaborative approach is even more important today since city government has little inventory of cheap land and construction costs have skyrocketed. While it was not explicit in the Mayor’s speech, I trust his administration understands that forging partnerships with the development and financial industries is the only way to accomplish his housing goals.”

At the time of the most recent census (2012), the median household income amongst Manhattan residence stood at just under $67,000 per year. The average rents for the borough eclipsed $3,000 per month.

Up against slightly more modest rents, Brooklyn and Queens saw median household incomes of $44,850 and $54,373 respectively.

The highest household income belonged to the suburban Staten Island, which barely eclipsed $70,000 per year.

“Without such bold initiatives, the City’s housing market will tighten further and become even more expensive,” said Spinola.  “Our industry stands ready to work with the mayor and other stakeholders to put shovels in the ground and cranes in the sky to tackle this important goal.”

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