Economic Challenge for the Rent Guidelines Board
Rent stabilized apartments account for nearly half of all rental units in New York City and are a vital source of relatively low-cost rental housing. New Yorkers who live in rent stabilized apartments pay a lower median rent and have a lower median income than households in unregulated apartments, but are also more likely to experience maintenance deficiencies. The responsibility for overseeing the economic viability and affordability of this important housing stock rests with the nine-member Rent Guidelines Board (RGB), which sets annual rent adjustments for rent stabilized apartments. Given the importance of the rent stabilized apartment stock, it is essential to think hard about how to preserve both its quality and quantity.
Challenges and Opportunities for Hotel-to-Housing Conversions in New York City
As the country continues to grapple with the COVID-19 crisis and its aftermath, policymakers in New York City and Albany have debated whether and how to support the conversion of hotels into housing—and especially affordable housing—as part of a solution to the city’s ongoing housing crisis. To better understand what opportunities for hotel conversion exist in New York City, this paper examines the legal regime governing hotel conversions to identify the most important regulatory barriers to such adaptive uses.
Ending Exclusionary Zoning in New York City’s Suburbs
New York stands alone among its peer states—coastal states with high housing costs and healthy regional economies—in giving its local governments such broad authority over local land use. The result is a state with fewer homes, more expensive rents, and starker segregation than it would otherwise have. By some measures, New York has the most exclusionary zoning in the country. This paper therefore offers a guide for New York State to follow, and improve upon, its peer states and reform its broken suburban land use process.
Housing Justice in the Pandemic Age: Recommendations for Safe and Effective Courts During COVID-19
This brief outlines recommendations to inform the “reopening” of New York City housing courts, a term we will use to describe the incremental process of reopening court buildings, permitting new eviction filings, expanding the courts’ dockets, and other aspects of returning to full operations.
Has Falling Crime Invited Gentrification?
Since the early 1990s, central city crime has fallen dramatically in the United States. This study explores the extent to which this trend may have contributed to gentrification. Using confidential census microdata, the authors show that reductions in central city violent crime are associated with increases in the probability that high-income and college-educated households move into central city neighborhoods, including low-income neighborhoods, instead of the suburbs. The authors then use neighborhood-level crime and home purchase data for five major U.S. cities and find that falling neighborhood crime is associated with increasing numbers and shares of high-income movers to low-income central city neighborhoods.
The Potential Costs to Public Engagement of HUD’s Assessment of Fair Housing Delay
In January 2018, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced that it would extend the deadlines by which local governments and public housing authorities receiving federal housing and urban development funds must submit Assessments of Fair Housing (AFHs), and allow jurisdictions to continue to file Analysis of Impediments (AIs) instead. HUD justified the delay by noting that of the first 49 AFH initial submissions, HUD initially did not accept 35% of the submissions. Many observers, however, believed that the initial submissions were superior to the AIs they replaced. To evaluate one important aspect of the AFH and AI processes, the NYU Furman Center compared the public engagement involved in the AIs and AFHs filed by 19 of the 28 jurisdictions who were first to file under the new AFH requirements. The authors find that the public engagement processes used under the AFH requirement were much more robust than the most recent AIs the jurisdictions had filed along five distinct dimensions: the number of opportunities for public engagement; the inclusiveness of those opportunities; the provision of data for assessing public engagement; documentation and consideration of the public input; and existence of cross-jurisdictional or cross-sector engagement.
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.
Fifty Years of Historic Preservation in New York City
This white paper offers a detailed overview of the process of designation and the spread of historic districts and landmarks throughout New York City. In addition, it provides additional analyses comparing the land uses, building types, commercial uses, and population in historic districts with those attributes of nearby neighborhoods and lots. A summary of the white paper's findings is available in the accompanying policy brief of the same name.
Inclusionary Housing Policy in New York City: Assessing New Opportunities, Constraints, and Trade-offs
Many jurisdictions with high housing costs, including New York City, have supplemented traditional affordable housing production programs with inclusionary housing programs. By tying the creation of affordable units to market-rate development, these programs aim to produce new affordable housing and preserve economic diversity in high-rent neighborhoods, often with little or no direct cash subsidies from local government budgets. As rents continue to rise and the pace of market-rate development remains strong, policymakers in New York City and elsewhere will continue to look to new and expanded inclusionary housing programs as a source of affordable housing. View the related policy brief, Creating Affordable Housing Out of Thin Air: The Economics of Mandatory Inclusionary Zoning in New York City.
Preserving History or Hindering Growth? The Heterogeneous Effects of Historic Districts on Local Housing Markets in New York City
Historic district designation has long been a topic of considerable debate. This report, conducted in collaboration with the National Bureau of Economic Research, provides new evidence to inform one aspect of this discussion—the effect that historic district designation has on housing. The report considers how designation of historic districts in New York City affects property values both within district boundaries and in the buffer areas just outside district boundaries, and explores how these effects vary across neighborhoods. Read the full report, the research brief, or view the press release.