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Gov. Hochul Pledges To 'Act Boldly' In Face Of New York’s Housing Crisis

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul speaks in Far Rockaway ahead of the 10th anniversary of Superstorm Sandy, Oct. 28, 2022.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul teased big plans to address the state’s housing crisis in a speech at the 2022 New York Housing Conference Annual Awards Program on Thursday.

Hochul didn't give specifics of any proposals, but she said her policy team has been spending months having conversations with housing leaders across the country and testing new ideas, the result of which she said she'd reveal in January at her next State of the State speech.

"We are thinking big, we're thinking bold, we're acting bold, but we have to be just as bold and audacious in the housing space," she said. "And I am. And I'm willing to be."

Hochul described the "tragedy" she sees playing out across the state as people are forced to leave the communities they grew up in because they can't afford to stay. And she chided the anti-development forces that have pushed back on new housing across the state.

“We're a national leader in blocking housing," she said. “New York is essentially in a league of its own when it comes to constricting housing development."

That problem is not restricted to New York City, she said, citing a Brookings Institute report that said the counties around NYC have some of the trickiest zoning laws in the country. Exacerbating the issue: New York created 1.25 million jobs in the decade prior to the pandemic, but only 400,000 housing units in that time, Hochul said.

“New York State built 850,000 fewer units than the jobs that were created,” she told the audience. “Jobs are plentiful, but where are the workers supposed to live?”

Beginning her new term in January, Hochul will be faced with the challenge of delivering on her promises despite the failure this year of her proposed 421-a replacement. In a June speech, where she referred to the real estate community as her “friends,” Hochul pledged her support for the CRE industry.

Some within the industry may be skeptical of the her capability: She won her election by the narrowest margin of any New York governor in decades, with hundreds of thousands of real estate dollars flowing to her Republican rival Lee Zeldin in the weeks before the election.