People need homes: California’s priorities should be absorbed in New York City

·2 min read

California has many more people than it has affordable homes — a problem that Gov. Gavin Newsom, having coasted through a silly recall, intends to get back to trying to solve. New Yorkers should take notes, because our state has some of the same pernicious obstacles to development.

Only additional supply has any hope of bringing median home prices, which are now north of $800,000, down to earth. So Newsom’s first post-recall order of business is signing a bill allowing the production of duplex units all throughout the state, potentially multiplying the number of new homes that can be produced. The second is building on the success of the state’s Housing Accountability Act, which makes it far harder for localities to prevent the creation of new places for people to live. Just last week, advocates beat the city of San Mateo in court as it sought to block a four-story housing project, affirming the law’s authority.

The progressives who endlessly lament the high cost of housing in New York City and State (and, in the next breath, far too often oppose new construction and/or villify the real-estate developers who make them possible) should be pursuing similarly creative new ways to bring down barriers here, especially in the high-demand city and its environs. According to the 2020 census, the five boroughs are home to 8.8 million people, at least pre-COVID. Also pre-COVID, between 2010 and 2018, the number of jobs in Gotham jumped 22% while housing stock increased just 4%, a bigger gap between job and housing growth than in any American city except San Francisco.

So costly is existing housing here, so huge the disconnect between demand and supply, more than 100,000 of us live in basement apartments that are increasingly susceptible to deadly flooding, and some 50,000 people put their heads on pillows every night in homeless shelters.

The only way out of this predicament is through it. Bulldoze the barriers to growth to house more New Yorkers in the city and its suburbs.

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