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Industry & Trends

New York State’s New Builder-Friendly Laws Could Be Model for Other States

They are not yet law, but a series of new legislations in New York State is designed to spur residential construction by builders.

New York State is not always considered the most typical in the country, especially when it comes to what some view as archaic rules and regulations, particularly in building and development. But a new set of rules about to be enacted into law will make it easier for new residential construction and could serve as a model for other states looking to free up the logjam in development.

The new regulations, still being finalized but expected to be signed into law by Governor Kathy Hochul, are primarily designed to create more housing for a state that by one estimate is short some 340,000 homes just in the New York City metropolitan area. But in doing so they will create expanded opportunities for builders and developers in both new construction and conversions of existing structures from commercial to residential uses.

Among the changes being finalized are new tax breaks, revised pay scales for workers, revision of eviction policies, building density requirement adjustments, and additional incentives for developers to convert existing and largely underutilized commercial office space to residential use. New York City officials estimate that last provision could create as many as 20,000 new apartment units.

The New York Times, in reporting on these new initiatives, said Hochul created “a framework for a package of housing laws that will make it easier to build homes and curb the skyrocketing cost of living.

“Proponents say the package could be a significant and overdue move in New York where housing costs continue to be a huge burden on residents and the economy.”

While the entire package of laws may ultimately not be enacted individual elements are likely to be passed in some form, opening up opportunities for builders – and perhaps serving as a template for other states and cities facing similar issues.

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