These NYC neighborhoods lost housing in the past decade

Wealthy enclaves like that Upper East Side, West Village saw net loss

New York /
Feb.February 09, 2021 09:15 AM
(iStock/Illustration by Kevin Rebong for The Real Deal)

(iStock/Illustration by Kevin Rebong for The Real Deal)

Despite the preponderance of new buildings that have risen in New York in the past 10 years, the city added only 206,000 housing units over that period of time — and in some upscale enclaves, housing was actually lost.

A recent analysis from the Department of City Planning, first reported by The City, looked at all housing construction and demolition jobs approved by the Department of Buildings since 2010. The report looked at data through June 2020.

According to the analysis, most neighborhoods in the city added some housing units, with those close to transit accounting for much of that growth. Areas that had been rezoned — Hudson Yards, Long Island City, Williamsburg and Downtown Brooklyn — added as many as 65 new units per acre.

But wealthier enclaves saw losses. On the Upper East Side, more than 2,000 residential units were built in the past decade, but since many owners combined units, the overall amount of housing decreased.

The Upper East Side wasn’t alone; the stretch of the Upper West Side next to Central Park, much of Soho and the West Village lost between half a unit and six units per acre, on average, over the 10-year period, according to the report. Alterations and combinations of units accounted for the losses in those areas, too.

“People see housing demand when it spreads vertically — when buildings pop up, when you see new construction — but what they don’t see is that the demand for housing also spreads horizontally,” Howard Slatkin, deputy executive director for strategic planning at the Department of City Planning, told The City. “In the absence of those new additions, as affluent people take more space and larger residences for themselves, what you get is a reduction in total housing units.”

The findings come about New York mayoral candidates are making housing production a key talking point in their campaigns. Some wealthier areas of New York are seeing a push for more affordable housing, including Soho, where a proposed rezoning could allow for more residential housing.

[The City] — Keith Larsen


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