Governor Kathy Hochul today announced a statewide strategy to address New York's housing crisis, build 800,000 new homes over the next decade to meet the historic shortage, and support New York renters and homeowners as part of the 2023 State of the State. The New York Housing Compact, a comprehensive, multi-pronged strategy, includes local participation requirements and incentives to achieve housing growth in every community so that every part of the State is a partner in solving this urgent crisis. The plan will also require municipalities with MTA rail stations to locally rezone for higher density residential development.
"New York faces a housing crisis that requires bold actions and an all-hands-on-deck approach," Governor Hochul said. "Every community in New York must do their part to encourage housing growth to move our State forward and keep our economy strong. The New York Housing Compact is a comprehensive plan to spur the changes needed to create more housing, meet rising demand, and make our state a more equitable, stable, and affordable place to live."
New York State is currently facing a severe, once-in-a-generation housing crisis. According to the Population Reference Bureau more than half of New York renters are rent-burdened, meaning that they pay more than 30 percent of their income on rent - the second-highest rate in the nation. In the New York City metro area, rents have risen 30 percent since 2015 and home prices have risen 50 percent over the same period. Outside of New York City, rents have risen 40 to 60 percent since 2015 while home prices have risen 50 to 80 percent.
The New York Housing Compact will call upon all levels of government to meet the ongoing crisis.
Statewide Housing Targets
The New York Housing Compact will require all cities, towns, and villages to achieve new home creation targets on a three-year cycle. Downstate municipalities served by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority where the housing need is most acute, including New York City, will have a three percent new homes target over three years. For municipalities in upstate counties, the new homes target will be one percent over three years.
Under the Compact, localities will decide how to best meet their new home construction targets. From repurposing underutilized office parks and strip malls to offering new incentives towards multifamily buildings, localities can choose how to tailor their strategies to increase housing supply. To encourage the inclusion of affordable housing as part of the new growth, affordable units will be assigned extra weight in calculating localities' progress toward their goals.
Localities that do not meet targets can achieve Safe Harbor status for one three-year cycle by implementing certain good faith actions - or "Preferred Actions" - that create zoning capacity to achieve the growth targets.
Infrastructure and Planning Funds
The New York Housing Compact will make available a $250 million Infrastructure Fund and $20 million Planning Fund to support new housing production statewide. Municipalities may submit requests for planning funding to undertake either required Transit-Oriented Development rezonings or Preferred Actions to help them hit their growth targets. The plan will also create a new Housing Planning Office within New York State Homes and Community Renewal to provide municipalities with support and guidance.
New Focus on Transit-Oriented Development
The New York Housing Compact will require that localities with rail stations run by the MTA undertake a local rezoning or higher density multifamily development within half a mile of the station unless they already meet the density level. By expanding housing potential in these transit-oriented communities, more families will be able to enjoy improved access to jobs and thriving sustainable communities.
Facilitate Housing Approval When Targets are Unmet
After 3 years, in localities that do not meet growth targets or do not take steps to implement Preferred Actions, proposed housing developments that meet particular affordability criteria, but may not conform to existing zoning, may take advantage of a fast-track housing approval process if the locality denies the permit. The appeal can be made to a new State Housing Approval Board or through the courts. Appealed projects will be approved unless a locality can demonstrate a valid health or safety reason for denying the application.
Municipalities that fall short of their targets can still take good faith Preferred Actions to spur development for another 3-year cycle in which the fast-track approval process will not apply. In municipalities where there is no market demand for new housing there will be no practical effect if localities fall short of their targets.
Remove Obstacles to Housing Approvals
To expedite rezoning and development of new homes, specific relief from environmental review will be included in the New Homes Targets and Transit Oriented Development proposals. The State will continue to exercise crucial safeguards that prevent environmental harm and ensure that public health remains a top priority.
Provide New York City with Vital Tools to Increase Housing
Governor Hochul has put forth several housing proposals specific to New York City to address the outsized impact of the housing crisis in the five boroughs. The Governor will propose the reversal of an antiquated state law that restricts maximum density of residential floor area. This measure will allow New York City the ability to allow for denser residential development where City officials deem appropriate.
Governor Hochul will also propose legislation to expand the universe of commercial buildings eligible for conversion to residential use and provide necessary regulatory relief, making an estimated additional 120 million square feet newly eligible for conversion.
Additionally, Governor Hochul will propose granting the City of New York the authority to provide amnesty by local law for existing basement units that meet health and safety standards to be determined by the City.
Critical Incentives to Build and Rehabilitate Housing
Governor Hochul unveiled a series of new proposals to incentivize new housing construction and the rehabilitation of existing housing. This includes new property tax exemptions to encourage mixed income housing development near train stations and incentivize affordable housing in commercial buildings that are converted to residential use in New York City. This also includes updated property tax exemptions offered by local option to support homeowners that build Accessory Dwelling Units and for property owners who need support undertaking certain renovations in New York City.
To support the development of mixed-income housing outside of New York City, Governor Hochul will direct New York State Homes and Community Renewal to make $5 million in State Low Income Housing Tax Credits available.
Governor Hochul will also make necessary changes to ensure that localities where new housing developments utilize Payment in Lieu of Taxes agreements are not penalized in tax cap calculations.
The Governor will work with the State Legislature to develop a successor for the 421-a property tax exemption program that expired last year to stimulate production of new rental housing in New York City.
Strengthening New York's Existing Housing Supply
The Governor announced additional proposals to increase the State's supply of safe, stable, comfortable housing for all New Yorkers.
Governor Hochul will propose legislation to create a program that builds on proven models to drastically reduce lead exposure risk in rental housing outside of New York City, targeting areas classified as "high-risk" for lead exposure based on incidence of childhood elevated blood lead levels. This will require multi-family rental units in such areas that were built prior to 1980 to undergo a lead risk assessment every three years - if lead hazards are found, the landlord will be required to remediate the housing unit. There will be grant funding for eligible landlords to help cover the cost of these assessments and the remediation of identified hazards.
The Governor will also propose legislation that will update the existing law that enables local governments to take ownership of certain dangerous abandoned properties. This legislation will help localities reduce public health risks, improve property values for neighboring homeowners, increase property tax revenues, and create new housing opportunities.
Support for Renters and Homeowners
In addition to proposals to build new homes, Governor Hochul unveiled two new proposals to address the impacts of the housing crisis on current New York renters and homeowners. Governor Hochul will propose a targeted initiative, modeled on the Buffalo East Homeownership Assistance Program, to finance home repairs in communities statewide that have been identified as having high levels of low-income homeowners of color and homeowner distress.
The Governor will also propose increased funding for the State's Tenant Protection Unit, enabling them to open an additional satellite office. The increased capabilities of the Unit will be of particular benefit to manufactured home park residents and will improve access to grants and loans available to municipalities for farmworker housing.
Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, "New York's acute housing shortage impacts all communities both large and small, rural and urban. Governor Hochul's New York Housing Compact is a broad and far-reaching strategy to greatly increase housing production across the state in a way that benefits our climate, accommodates our growing workforce, and expands fair access to quality housing opportunities for all New Yorkers. These sweeping actions will ensure that our communities have the support they need to meet housing creation targets and implement smart growth strategies that will ultimately make our state an even better, more inclusive, and more affordable place to live."
Governor Hochul's 2022 Housing Plan
The New York Housing Compact complements the Governor's $25 billion comprehensive Housing Plan, announced in last year's State of the State address, to create or preserve 100,000 affordable homes across New York including 10,000 with support services for vulnerable populations, plus the electrification of an additional 50,000 homes.