NYC Officials Point Fingers as Housing Crisis Continues

(VitalNews.org) – The residents of New York City are facing a housing crisis, and the city’s officials have taken aim at short-term rental properties (STRs), such as properties rented out via “Air B’n’B”, in their efforts to tackle the problem. New York City is the most populous city in the US, with 8 million residents and an increasingly large population of recently arrived immigrants, many of whom are in the US illegally. The “Sanctuary City” has welcomed approximately 95,000 migrants in 2023 alone, and Governor Kathy Hochul has described the city as operating at full capacity.

The problems affecting the city’s housing supply are long-standing, however, with housing prices already becoming unaffordable for many before the latest escalation of border-crossings, with the cost of housing increasing by nearly 30% since 2020. The median house price in the city is $765,000 compared the national figure of $412,000, and the median rent currently sits at $3,500 per month.

For those searching for a more affordable option, rent-controlled apartments can be appealing, but the supply of these units appears to be dwindling. Despite the authorities trying to keep rent-controlled apartments by making changes to housing law to prevent landlords from moving their properties off rent-stabilization schemes under most circumstances, many landlords have been able to find ways to extricate themselves from the restrictive schemes. In 2019, there were 880,000 such apartments on the books, but this figure dropped to just 784,000 in 2022.

Another issue facing property seekers is the declining number of overall housing units in some areas, with property owners and developers merging multiple apartments into single family units, with an estimated tens of thousands of units thought to have been removed from the market in such a manner. With many difficult problems causing the housing situation to worsen, city officials have decided to make it much harder for property owners to rent out property on a short-term basis in response to a campaign bolstered by hotel union members.

The 40,000 STRs represent just 1% of New York housing stock but offer a rival product to the city’s 120,000 hotels rooms, which are priced at some of the highest rates in the US. As well as union members opposing their operation, residents have complained about additional problems created by these properties, such as noise issues.

Rather than tackling individual properties that have been subject to neighbor complaints, city officials have opted to tighten regulations. STRs must now be registered with the city and the property host must remain in the property while paying guests stay. Most STRs are only let out to paying guests for a minority of the year, with the hosts usually living there most of the time. On average, such properties are rented out at STRs for just 19 days across the year and bring a supplementary income of $2,200 to the host.

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