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Featured Opinion REBNY Watch

New report shows that limiting density raises rents

There is perhaps no better sign of New York City’s continued prosperity than the fact that 60,000 newcomers move to our great city each year.

Experts project that by 2040 New York City will be the home of nine million citizens. That growth is exactly why Mayor de Blasio and members of the City Council have prioritized rezoning neighborhoods to increase density and add to our housing stock – without it, neighborhoods will continue to see rising rents.

A recent report from StreetEasy underscores why the Real Estate Board of New York is so supportive of these initiatives.

The report examined the change in rent neighborhood-by-neighborhood since 2010 and found that while rents had risen in many neighborhoods, rents rose higher in neighborhoods where there have been spirited attempts to limit density.

Consider this fact: seven of the ten neighborhoods that experienced the highest rent growth in the period were “at least partially downzoned to limit the height and density of future development …and that preservation has come at the cost of fixing supply in areas while demand continues to grow, thus pushing rents higher.”

The report even went so far to say that its “analysis suggests that rents in upzoned areas tend to rise at slower rates than areas without new developments.”

In other words, the efforts of Not In My Back Yard (NIMBY) opponents of development across the city to block strategic upzonings have done little but increase pressure on a limited housing supply and thus, increase neighborhood rents.

The practical and policy implications of this report and its findings are clear. As New York City continues to grow in population – and the consensus is nearly unanimous that this growth will continue – it is simply good public policy to advocate for more upzonings.

We need to build housing for our city’s longtime residents to call home and we need to build for the newcomers.

In the past few years, we have made progress thanks to the focused efforts by local government to implement rezonings in East New York, East Midtown, Inwood, and Jerome Avenue.

Each of these will contribute more housing to neighborhoods starved for new apartments, ensure that those apartments are affordable, and even preserve thousands of existing affordable units.

As a result, New York City reached record levels of new affordable housing production.
However, the reality is that the trends like those outlined in StreetEasy’s report signal that this progress is not enough to support our ever-growing population.

We need to continue to focus on building enough housing to meet demand at all income levels in every neighborhood.

New York is the place everyone wants to be. That is, after all, why we all call it home. But without development spurred by transit-focused rezonings in areas that need more housing, we will only continue to put pressure on our existing housing shortage.

The good news is that the report showed a clear way out of this crisis, but we must be willing to overcome the misguided opposition to development across the five boroughs that will allow our great city to continue to grow and thrive.

In Other REBNY News:
Join the Commercial Leasing Brokers Committee on Monday, September 17, from 12:30 to 2:00 p.m. for lunch at REBNY. Engage in a market-driven discussion and exchange recently completed deals pertaining to leasing trends throughout New York City real estate. This is an open meeting for REBNY members ($35) and non-members ($50). Register now at rebny.com.

Commercial Brokers: The NYC Mayor’s Office of Sustainability and NYSERDA will host a FREE training on Thursday, September 20 from 8:30 to 11:00 a.m. at REBNY. Emily McLaughlin from the Institute for Market Transformation will break down the financial and environmental costs and benefits of investing in green infrastructure, and walk through how you can play a key role in promoting energy efficiency. Register now at go.rebny.com/GreenBrokers.

The Commercial Brokerage Grand Central Committee will meet for lunch, hosted by The Durst Organization, on Wednesday, September 26 from 12:00 to 2:00 p.m. at 675 Third Avenue. Reggie Thomas, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs at REBNY, will share about REBNY’s involvement in key issues as they relate to the Grand Central area. This meeting is FREE for REBNY members and their guests. Register online.

DRAGAN TRAJKOVSKI

Dragan Trajkovski, a Tony Robbins Peak Performance Strategist, will teach a FREE session for real estate professionals on Friday, September 28. The event will be held from 9:30 to 11:00 a.m. at REBNY. Walk away with an unshakable mindset and renewed momentum to close the gap between where you are and where you want to be. Register now at go.rebny.com/PeakPerformance.

Are you ready for your next career move? Become a Broker by completing our 45-Hour Real Estate Broker Licensing Course this fall. Classes will be held from 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Thursdays from October 11 through November 15 at REBNY. Tuition is $250 for REBNY members and $350 for non-members. Visit rebny.com/Education for more information.

Earn 22.5 hours of NYS real estate broker/salesperson continuing education credit and a license in Florida when you complete our 72-Hour Florida Broker Licensing Course. Classes will be held from 9:00 a.m. to 7:20 p.m. on October 19 through 21, and October 26through 28 at REBNY. Register at rebny.com/Education.

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