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The new Tres Puentes affordable housing development for seniors in The Bronx.

Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office

Housing: Trends to Watch for the Future of NYC

New apartments became scarcer after the financial crisis — with fewer produced in the past decade than in the 2000s.

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The start of 2022 marks a point of transition between Bill de Blasio’s eight years in charge of New York City and the arrival of Mayor Eric Adams. A mostly new City Council just took office.

THE CITY is giving New York City a checkup by tracking its vital signs year by year on health, poverty, crime, housing, environment, homelessness, transportation and education, showing progress through de Blasio’s terms in office into the pandemic — and the stage set for Adams.

New York City is struggling to produce enough homes to accommodate its growing population, after construction lagged following the 2000s fiscal crisis and again in the COVID pandemic.

The number of housing units grew by 7% in the past decade, even while New York City’s adult population grew by 10%.

And in the past 10 years, the city added fewer apartments and houses than it had the decade before.

In 2020, the city had 3.6 million occupied and vacant housing units, according to U.S. Census figures. 

Net growth over the past decade was strongest in Brooklyn and Manhattan, which each added over 7% to their stocks, followed by a gain of 6.8% in Queens, 6.4% in The Bronx and 3.8% in Staten Island. 

Nearly 192,700 new units were built in the 10-year period ending 2020, down from 207,000 units in the same period before, according to THE CITY’s analysis of the NYC Department of City Planning’s Housing Database and data compiled by the Rent Guidelines Board.

The number of new unit permits fell as well –– while the coronavirus pandemic and the temporary construction halts had an impact too, leading to a decline in the completions and permits in 2020 from the year before.

A widening gap between housing costs and wages has exacerbated an affordability crisis in New York City, pushing people into homelessness and to crowd into smaller apartments.

More than a quarter of households in New York City were severely rent-burdened in 2019, spending 50% or more of their income on rent, according to Census Bureau data. And nearly half of households spent more than 30% of their income on rent.

Mayor Bill de Blasio sought to bring incomes and rents into closer alignment with his Housing New York plan in 2014 –– promising to create 80,000 new affordable units over ten years. 

The initiative has so far spurred the creation of 62,557 new affordable units — with two-thirds of these in Brooklyn and The Bronx. 

About 22% of these newly completed units are set aside for “extremely low income” New Yorkers, defined as a family of three that makes less than $32,220, and 13% for families of three that make between $32,220 and $53,700.

Read our coverage on housing and homelessness.

Check out THE CITY’s scorecard on de Blasio’s 8 years of ambitious pledges.

Read our story on how NYC physically changed in de Blasio era.

These are the big stories of 2022 we’re keeping an eye on.