Why REBNY supports de Blasio’s affordable housing proposal

Specific pricing requirements reveal flexibility for developers
May 08, 2015 08:00AM

Under Mayor Bill de Blasio’s recently announced affordable housing proposal, developers would be forced to make some concessions. But they would also be given substantial flexibility in how to achieve the 421a affordable housing requirements — making the Real Estate Board of New York’s support for the plan somewhat less surprising.

The mayor would give developers a “menu of options” for how comply with the rules, according to Capital New York. 

One of these options would allow developers to set aside 30 percent of its units at a rate affordable to New York families making 130 percent of the area media income — $112,000 for a family of four, which translates to $2,800 in monthly rent. In many neighborhoods in the city, this is considered market-rate, whereas in other areas, it is above what anyone will pay.

That particular option is designed for middle-market neighborhoods, Housing Commissioner Vicki Been told the website. There are other options for strong and struggling markets. In strong markets, only 25 percent of a project would have to be set aside as affordable, but at rates affordable to much poorer families.

In struggling markets, 30 percent of units would have to meet “affordability” requirements, but those requirements exceed the average rent in those markets. Been said the requirements will act as a cap if the market changes.

Been indicated it would be at developers’ discretion to define which option is right for their project.

“We can live with more affordable housing if the program provides appropriate benefits to help cover the costs of that benefit,” REBNY president Steven Spinola said. “We believe this program does.”

De Blasio presented his executive budget plan yesterday. [Capital NY] — Tess Hofmann