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City: We’re running out of homes

The new report on the cityʼs changing landscape paints a grim picture for housing.

For even as job creation explodes, a dearth of home building is driving up rents and, officials worry, threatening the city’s position as an international leader.

VICKI BEEN

“Falling housing production poses a threat to our cities, and to our region’s continued prosperity,” said Vicki Been, Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development.

“The tri-state area has seen a 30 percent drop in the pace of new housing construction in the current market cycle compared to the prior cycle, even as job growth has surged. This imbalance is driving up rents, damaging our quality of life and exacerbating inequality.”

Been and Department of City Planning (DCP) Director Marisa Lago just released of the 2019 Geography of Jobs report on shifting growth patterns in the metropolitan regions.

Calling it “an eye-opener to the challenges we face” Been urged the private and public sectors to work together to find solutions.

The report shows how the confluence of declining housing production, explosive job growth in select locations, and an aging labor force have shifted the geographic pattern of growth within the region.

The continuation of imbalanced growth has major implications for the future of this region — heightening affordability challenges, impacting residents’ mobility and access to opportunity, straining our transit infrastructure, creating headwinds to long term economic growth, and threatening the region’s national and global competitiveness.

Though New York City produced the most new housing in the region, more than 400,000 units, it also added a significant number of new jobs, resulting in nearly 363,000 more jobs gained than units produced since 2001.

Long Island similarly gained more jobs than new housing, adding 62,000 more jobs than housing units produced over the last two decades.

Meanwhile, housing production in northern New Jersey and southwest Connecticut was unmatched by job growth, with each permitting 195,000 and 76,000 more housing units than jobs gained, respectively.

Employment gains in all five boroughs drove the region’s post-Great Recession economic growth. Manhattan gained the most private sector jobs (+307,000), while the combined job growth of Brooklyn (+200,000) and Queens (+113,000) represented greater job gains than the rest of the region in total.

Office job growth was highly sensitive to economic downturns, and has strongly concentrated in New York City after the Great Recession.

The institutional sector served as the largest source of employment and wage growth elsewhere in the region, but that growth has slowed in recent years, according to the report.

The region’s labor force is aging, too. Only five counties — four of the five in New York City — gained workers aged 25 to 54 since the Great Recession. Brooklyn gained the most young workers (+94,000), followed by Manhattan (+41,000), the Bronx (+31,000), Queens (+29,000) and Hudson County, NJ (+23,000).

Outside of New York City, the growth of the region’s resident labor force was attributable to an increasing number of older workers, notably those age 55 and older.

While the decline of younger workers (aged 25 to 54) was modest overall, a continued pattern of labor force growth outside of NYC that does not include younger workers could have long-term implications for businesses seeking to sustain their workforce.

Westchester County Executive George Latimer commented, “This report shows that our region faces both collective challenges and has had its share of collective successes. Most importantly, any path forward will involve cooperation from all stakeholders. It is no secret that our region needs more housing that is affordable for workers on all economic levels, and this report only serves to reinforce our commitment to finding it.”

CARLO SCISSURA

Carlo A. Scissura, Esq., President & CEO of the New York Building Congress, added, “As the region continues to grow and add jobs, we have to accommodate more people living here and businesses growing. Key projects like the Gateway Program, Phase 2 of the Second Avenue Subway and the Port Authority Bus Terminal are vital to providing greater transportation access across the region, which opens opportunities for new housing and jobs markets.”

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