Affordable New York: An Array of Affordability Options

Affordable New York: An Array of Affordability Options

By Frank Fortino

This month we’re taking a closer look at the options and requirements of Affordable New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo’s replacement for the 421a tax abatement. The affordable New York housing program applies to eligible projects containing six or more units built during the following time frame:

  • Construction commencement falls after December 31, 2015, and before June 15, 2022.
  • Construction is completed on or before June 15, 2026.

Affordability: Pick Your Flavor

Affordable New York offers seven options that govern the number of affordable housing units, affordability levels (as a percentage of area median income, or AMI, adjusted for family size), and access to other subsidies.

  • Affordability option A
    • Not less than 10% of the housing units are rented at 40% of AMI.
    • Not less than an additional 10% of the units are rented at 60% of AMI.
    • Not less than an additional 5% of the units are rented at 130% of AMI.
    • The developer/code consultant cannot accept “substantial assistance” from government sources or other affordable housing subsidies, but may receive tax-exempt bond proceeds and 4% tax credits.
  • Affordability option B
    • Not less than 10% of the units are rented at 70% of AMI.
    • Not less than an additional 20% of the units are rented at 130% of AMI.
  • Affordability option C
    • Not less than 30% of the units are rented at 130% of AMI.
    • This option does not apply to Manhattan south of 96th
    • No “substantial assistance” from government sources or other affordable housing subsidies is allowed.
  • Affordability option D
    • This option only applies to homeownership projects (condos and co-ops) of 35 units or less.
    • All units must have an average assessed value of $65,000 or less upon the first assessment after completion.
    • Each owner must agree, in writing, to maintain the unit as primary residence for at least five years from acquisition.

Only developments with at least 300 rental dwelling units qualify for the following options:

  • Affordability option E
    • Not less than 10% of the units are rented at 40% of AMI.
    • Not less than an additional 10% of the units are rented at 60% of AMI.
    • Not less than an additional 5% of the units are rented at 120% of AMI.
    • No “substantial assistance” from government sources or other affordable housing subsidies is allowed, except for tax-exempt bond proceeds and 4% tax credits.
  • Affordability option F
    • Not less than 10% of the units are rented at 70% of AMI.
    • Not less than an additional 20% of units are rented at 130% of AMI.
  • Affordability option G
    • Not less than 30% of the units are rented at 30% of AMI.
    • This option only applies to enhanced affordability areas in Brooklyn and Queens (along the waterfront).
    • No “substantial assistance” from government sources or other affordable housing subsidies is allowed.

Developments of more than 300 units located outside enhanced affordability areas can opt into the program by following the program’s minimum wage requirements for construction workers.