Publications

  • The Latest Reform Proposal for the 421-a Program

    This report analyzes the potential impact of the most recent reform proposal for the 421-a program on housing development in New York City, which is currently under consideration by the New York State Legislature. In evaluating the proposal, the report finds that the proposed 421-a program’s increase in tax exemption exceeds the additional affordable housing benefit by $2.6 to $5.7 million for a 300-unit building. The report also finds that the higher tax break for developers may support a 10-18% rise in hard construction costs without affecting long-term financial returns.

  • NYU Furman Center / Citi Report on Homeownership & Opportunity in New York City

    This report, commissioned by Citi and conducted by the NYU Furman center, analyzes recent home sales data and examines the potential purchasing power of households at various income levels in New York City, as well as the nearby counties of Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester. It finds that becoming a homeowner in New York City’s real estate market is a considerable challenge for the vast majority of New York City households due to the city’s severely constrained supply of affordable home-buying opportunities. And, according to the new report, homeownership prospects do not necessarily improve by moving out of the city to the surrounding New York suburbs.

  • Selling the Debt: Properties Affected by the Sale of New York City Tax Liens

    This data brief sheds light on the process of tax lien sales in New York City, which affected over 15,000 properties and roughly 43,600 residential units between 2010 and 2015.

    It finds that most tax liens in New York City eligible for sale are sold and generate substantial revenue for the city; between 1997 and 2015, the city raised more than $1.3 billion from the sale of tax liens. However, the city also has the power to remove liens eligible for sale from the lien sale list. The report also describes the characteristics of properties with liens sold in New York City between 2010 and 2015, including the property type, their location, and the outcome following the lien sale.

  • Mortgage Financing for Small Multifamily Rental Properties: What is the Problem?

    This study examines the effect of mortgage financing on the long-term viability of the small multifamily rental stock in both Chicago and New York City. It also explores the relationship between the size of the mortgage gap and the condition of the housing stock, and looks for how the financial crisis and Great Recession affected and continues to affect the rate of origination of new mortgages for multifamily buildings of different sizes in the two geographies. It finds that, despite the mortgage gap,  smaller multifamily rental properties may be in better condition generally and properties that have mortgages are generally in worse condition than those without mortgages, regardless of size. Moreover, it surfaces a number of possible reasons that can account for the mortgage gaps.

  • The Latest Legislative Reform of the 421-a Tax Exemption: A Look at Possible Outcomes

    This report explores the possible impacts of the new 421-a legislation on residential development in New York City’s neighborhoods. The legislation has set in motion three possible outcomes; the outcome should be determined in December 2016. Through financial modeling, this study details the effect each outcome will have on production of housing in different parts of the city. We find that the expiration of the 421-a benefit would likely lead to a disruption in the supply of housing by market rate builders, while a revised program without any increase in construction costs could result in the development of more rental units in many parts of the city compared to what the existing 421-a program would have created.

  • Quarterly Housing Update: 1st Quarter 2015

    Housing prices increased over seven percent citywide compared to the same quarter of the previous year, according to the Furman Center’s New York City 2015 Quarterly Housing Update: 1st Quarter, with prices in Brooklyn surpassing the peak level set before the Great Recession. The number of residential home sales increased by five percent citywide compared to the same quarter in 2014. Developers received approval to build nearly 6,000 new housing units in New York City, with projects in Brooklyn accounting for nearly all the growth in new development activity. The number of properties receiving notices of foreclosure was nearly 11 percent lower than it was during the same quarter in 2014. Read the full report.

  • Quarterly Housing Update: 4th Quarter 2014

    The number of properties receiving notices of foreclosure was 25 percent lower in the fourth quarter of 2014 than in the same quarter in 2013, according to the Furman Center’s New York City 2014 Quarterly Housing Update: 4th Quarter. Compared to the fourth quarter of 2013, the number of residential sales declined about two percent citywide, and housing prices increased over six percent citywide. Residential building permit rates varied across the boroughs: more units were authorized in the fourth quarter of 2014 than in the same quarter of the previous year in Manhattan, Queens and Staten Island, but the Bronx and Brooklyn saw sizable declines. Read the full report.

  • Do Homeowners Mark to Market? A Comparison of Self-reported and Estimated Market Home Values During the Housing Boom and Bust

    This paper examines homeowners’ self-reported values in the American Housing Survey and the Health and Retirement Study from the start of the recent housing price run-ups through recent price declines. It compares zip code level market-based estimates of housing prices to those derived from homeowners’ self-reported values. The paper shows that there are systematic differences which vary with market conditions and the amount of equity owners hold in their homes. When prices have fallen, homeowners systematically state that their homes are worth more than market estimates suggest, and homeowners with little or no equity in their homes state values above the market estimates to a greater degree. Over time, homeowners appear to adjust their assessments to be more in line with past market trends, but only slowly. The results suggest that underwater borrowers are likely to understate their losses and either may not be aware that their mortgages are underwater or underestimate the degree to which they are.

  • Quarterly Housing Update: 3rd Quarter 2014

    The number of units authorized by new residential building permits continued to rise in during third quarter of 2014, according to the Furman Center’s New York City 2014 Quarterly Housing Update: 3rd Quarter, with Brooklyn experiencing the strongest growth. The number of residential properties sold in the third quarter of 2014 also increased citywide versus the same quarter in the previous year, most notably in Staten Island. Residential housing prices rose by over seven percent in the city overall, and the number of new residential foreclosure filings fell by more than 20 percent in each borough. Read the full report.

  • Quarterly Housing Update: 2nd Quarter 2014

    In the second quarter of 2014, total notices of foreclosure decreased in all boroughs, with a citywide drop of 17.1 percent, according to the NYU Furman Center’s 2014 Quarterly Housing Update: 2nd Quarter. Initial foreclosure filings fell nearly 35 percent citywide making this the second quarter in a row with year-over-year decreases in initial foreclosures. The report also found that residential property prices in New York City increased by 8 percent compared to the same quarter in 2013, with a 12.1 increase in Manhattan and an 11.2 increase in Brooklyn. See press release or read the full report.