This past April, the New York State Legislature decided Long Island’s housing stock is just fine.
A plan pushed by the Office of Gov. Kathy Hochul, dubbed the New York Housing Compact, would have grown the supply of homes in our communities by 3% over the first three years and led to changes allowing more homes near our commuter rail hubs.
Facing local, bipartisan opposition on arguments of state overreach and preserving town character, the plan proved wildly unpopular and was pulled before voting began.
Although proponents of local control celebrated the proposal’s demise, problems that led to the plan’s development are alive and well.
Long Island is experiencing more demand for housing than there is supply. Young people looking to build their careers are looking beyond the island’s shores for an affordable place to build livelihoods for themselves.
Gov. Hochul’s plan would have been a step in the right direction; we can’t afford to turn a blind eye to our housing crisis any longer. New York needs to take action to make sure the home we cherish is not out of reach for the next generation of Long Islanders.
Young people are leaving Long Island, and not necessarily by choice.
Both Nassau and Suffolk Counties recently set record high median home prices, at $730,000 and $590,000, respectively, according to appraisal firm Miller Samuel.
Only 5,000 houses across the island were for sale at that time, down from the 15,000 to 20,000 usually on the market.
Real estate agents note that homes are selling very quickly after going on the market, regardless of age or condition. Now, with mortgage rates climbing well over 7%, homebuyers already struggling with the purchase price of a home are being shut out entirely by lenders.
In a study published in 2019 by the Rauch Foundation, nearly 70 percent of young adults said they plan to leave within the next five years; cost of living was among the chief reasons for making that decision, with housing being a major component.
The U.S. Census Bureau defines being “cost-burdened” when a resident is spending over 30% of their income on housing, and according to Molloy College, over half of Long Island renters are facing that situation.
Despite the backlash the plan received, the new regulations would not have imposed a great deal of development on suburban communities.
Per the New York Times, 80% of communities close to New York City would need to add less than 50 units in three years, a modest increase.
Municipalities would have funding infusions from the onset, including $20 million in project planning grants and $250 million in infrastructure funding provided by New York State, which could kickstart long-stalled local projects.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced in September a plan to create 100,000 more housing units within the city, using methods like removing parking minimums and allowing accessory units.
The mayor’s goal is to create “a little more housing in every neighborhood.” Essentially, everyone must do their part.
The New York metro is not alone in its housing struggles. Nearby states like Massachusetts and Connecticut have enacted similar proposals with promising results, seeing increases in affordable housing supply and total units.
Gov. Hochul will not give up on this fight, either; her administration will bring this to the table once again when the legislature meets in 2024.
The time to do our part on Long Island is now. By supporting the New York Housing Compact, we can ensure an affordable future right here at home.