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In New York City, housing supply fails to meet demand

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The Bronx housing courts are a throng of New Yorkers desperately fighting evictions and dire living conditions, and fighting to collect the rent they need amid rising interest and other costs.

“There are rodents running around. There are cockroaches,” said tenant Dwayne Osborne.

“Con Edison, DEP, Wi-Fi, they all keep getting bills. You have to keep paying no matter what,” said landlord Pedro Sena.

The tension in these halls feels a world away from the high-end living that has contributed to skyrocketing rents across the city.

In interconnected New York, market forces and policies, interests and politics all play a role in creating this affordability crisis. The bottom line is that supply is not meeting demand.

“In 2010, the City Planning Department estimated that the population would reach 8.8 million by 2030,” said Basha Gerhards, senior vice president of planning for the New York Real Estate Board (REBNY). . “Now he is in 2022. We hit that benchmark 10 years before him. But if you look at housing production, we are at least 10 years behind.”

About 560,000 apartments will need to be built by 2030 to accommodate population growth, according to a New York Real Estate Commission report.

When it comes to affordable housing, there were 29,408 such units in the pipeline in fiscal 2021, compared with just 16,042 that started last fiscal year, the mayor’s management report reveals. became.

And affordability is relative. According to Douglas Elliman’s report, in Manhattan, his average rent in August 2021 was $4,094, but by August this he rose to $5,246.

“One of the predictions during COVID was that cities would actually die and people wouldn’t want to be here anymore,” said Matthew Murphy, executive director of the NYU Furman Center. We’ve seen the opposite, we’ve actually seen people come back, and we’ve also seen rents skyrocket as a result of that return.”

In cities where homeownership and even market-value housing are out of reach for so many, protecting tenants, especially those who live just a paycheck away from the homeless, is a priority.

“We are not building enough housing to meet the needs of the people who want to live here. It hurts the most to those who live in unprotected housing and have low incomes. , people who can’t afford rent increases,” said Shea Weaver, campaign coordinator for Housing Justice for All.

So, is this going to be a New York housing math moment? After all, according to the New York City Housing and Vacancy Survey, apartments renting between $801 and $1,499 have only a 0.9% vacancy rate. .

“It’s functionally zero. So what can you find?” Murphy said. “It’s our default, but it’s getting worse and a little bit worse. The challenge is going to get bigger and bigger, and we’ll need a bigger solution.”

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