NYU data tool highlights lack of affordable housing

Only 14.8% of 421a properties have rent-regulated housing units

TRD New York /
Dec.December 21, 2016 04:19 PM

421a map (Credit: NYU Furman Center)

It’s no secret that the 421a tax abatement has mostly subsidized market-rate housing, but a new map illustrates that most properties currently benefiting from the program don’t include affordable rental units.

Only 14.8 percent of the properties that receive the tax break have affordable housing units on the site, according to a data analysis by New York University’s Furman Center. Another 4.4 percent created affordable housing offsite. That leaves more than 78 percent of the properties without any affordable units.

Still, among the 4,492 properties getting the tax break, 58,042 units across 667 properties include affordable units. Other affordable units were created off-site thanks to 199 projects, though the exact number of units is unclear.

Meanwhile, properties without affordable housing account for 68,424 units across 3,524 projects, according to the study. So, the program created affordable housing units, but they are, for the most part, concentrated together rather than mixed in throughout the various projects benefiting from the program.

The Furman Center mapped out active 421a properties in the city as part of its recently released CoreData.nyc, a tool that pulls data from more than 100 state, city and federal sources to show subsidized housing throughout New York.

The reformed version of 421a, which was agreed upon in June 2015, requires affordable housing in every project that benefits from the subsidy. The program expired in January, setting off a chorus of developers who claimed rental construction in the city was nearly impossible without it. After nearly a year without 421a, the Real Estate Board of New York and the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York reached an agreement in November that will seemingly pave the way for the program’s revival.

Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated the number of affordable housing units at projects currently benefiting from 421a. It’s 58,042.

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