New York Loses Over 100,000 Apartments

By: Ben Campbell | Last updated: Nov 09, 2023

New York City is facing a severe housing crisis, leaving tens of thousands of citizens struggling to find a place to rent.

According to recent reports, over 50,000 family row houses have been remodeled into one or two-family homes, bringing forth a loss of 100,000 potential apartments.

New York Housing Problem

New York is famed for its towering buildings and apartment complexes overlooking the vast city.

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Residential buildings seen in the Brooklyn borough of NYC

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However, a problem with the housing market has been occurring for some time, leading to the loss of over 100,000 potential homes.

The Loss of 100,000 Homes

One analysis from preservationist Adam Brodheim believes he has found the problem.

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View from the Chelsea apartments in the neighborhood of Manhattan

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He claims that over the past 70 years, approximately 50,000 multi-family buildings have been converted into one or two-family homes, bringing about a loss of close to 100,000 units.

Bringing Attention to the Problem

Brodeim said, “I’m not trying to begrudge folks who are trying to build a larger apartment as their families grow.”

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Historic building stands in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood

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He continued, “I’m trying to bring attention to the way these actions across the entire city make a meaningful impact on our housing crisis.”

Brodheim’s Report

Brodeim explained in his master’s thesis that many row houses in the city once served as multi-family residences.

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Construction workers work on a construction site in NYC

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Yet, from 320,777 row houses in New York City, over 50,000 were converted to accommodate just one or two families.

New York’s Wealthiest Neighborhoods

Matthew Pietrus, an urban planner from the city, has also conducted similar research.

Expensive house in the Manhattan borough of New York

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He claims apartments were disappearing at an alarming rate in New York’s wealthiest neighborhoods, including the West Village, Cobble Hill, and the Upper East Side.

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Not Necessarily a Bad Thing

Apartment consolidation isn’t necessarily considered a bad thing, according to Brodheim.

A new residential apartment building stands under construction in Brooklyn

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If homeowners decide they want or need more space, they should have the option to create it if they can afford it.

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Region-Wide Wide Housing Shortage

But, the loss of over 100,000 homes during a housing shortage concerns many people.

The sun sets on the under-construction headquarters for JPMorgan Chase

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This is forcing many lower and middle-income people out of the city and making life in the Big Apple unaffordable for millions of others.

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Not the Only Problem

According to the experts, there are a few other reasons why rent and home prices in New York have skyrocketed in recent years.

Traditional tenement buildings on Orchard Street, New York City

The most apparent is that New York’s rate of new housing construction has slowed down, fueling a citywide affordability crisis.

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It Doesn’t Add Up

While the number of new jobs in New York City has increased by over 20% since 2010, the housing supply has only increased by around 4%.

Home for rent in the Fort Greene area of New York City

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Half of the people who live in New York City are rent-burdened, meaning they spend upwards of 30% of their income just on housing.

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A Plan for Affordable Housing

Plans are being set in place by developers to help the housing shortage by making use of the unused office space in the city.

People work in an office building in lower Manhattan

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As office spaces see a record vacancy rate amidst the remote-worker boom, Mayor Eric Adams is pushing for these empty buildings to be turned into apartments.

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Mayor Adams’ Plan for NYC

According to the mayor’s plan, he would create over 100,000 new homes for 250,000 citizens of New York over the next 15 years.

Mayor Eric Adams speaks during a recent event in NYC

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While this won’t solve all of the city’s housing problems, it’s definitely a step in the right direction.

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