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NYC's Affordable Housing Production Fell By 45% Last Year

New York City Mayor Eric Adams delivers remarks at an event for the Global Fund, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2022.

As rents in New York City reached new heights, the number of affordable housing units produced in the last year plummeted.

The Department of Housing Preservation and Development financed the creation and preservation of 16,042 units in the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2021, Crain’s New York Business reports. That marks a 45% drop from the previous year, according to the Mayor’s Management Report.

The decline spans both Mayor Eric Adams’ and his predecessor Bill de Blasio’s time in office, with Adams assuming the role for the second six months of the fiscal year.

Between July 2020 and June 2021, the city financed and preserved almost 29,500 affordable units. A high of 32,517 units was created between July 2018 and June 2019, according to Crain’s.

“Such a significant decline is a serious warning that New York is moving in the wrong direction on housing, and it will make it significantly harder for public investment to respond to this crisis,” said Rachel Fee, the executive director of the New York Housing Conference, an affordable housing advocacy group.

Construction costs, caused by increasing interest rates, were cited as the primary factor stymying affordable housing production. Affordable housing developers have been sounding the alarm for months that rising costs were having a direct impact on their ability to build more units.

“Construction is getting so unbelievably expensive,” Andrea Kretchmer, the principal of local housing developer Xenolith Partners, told Bisnow in June. “Subsidy levels are not expanding along with the construction pricing, so now you're going to be able to build even fewer units.”

The slowdown in housing production comes at a time when new units are needed more than ever. The average rent in Manhattan hit $5,113 per month in July, an all-time high, and rents have similarly broken records in Brooklyn and Queens.