Real Estate & Housing

As the economy reopens, Westchester is poised to become an attractive destination for businesses and residents wishing to remain close to New York City but with a less dense urban environment. As the pandemic reshapes the commercial landscape, our region may experience changes in occupancy and use trends in the office, retail, hospitality, research and development, and industrial sectors. We should continue to encourage suburban clusters (comprising attractive office space close to retail and lifestyle amenities) through proper development incentives and zoning modifications.

Housing is an Economic Stimulant

The county cannot attract and retain businesses without accessible and affordable housing and our essential workforce currently is underserved. Furthermore, in and of itself, the creation of new housing is a well-documented economic stimulant. It increases the population, expands the labor force, improves wages, enhances GDP and should be accretive to the tax rolls. Housing development is a major economic engine in the region.

Addressing the Critical Shortage

In the residential real estate subsector, unique structural issues that predated the pandemic remain -- and none is more important than affordable housing. A 2019 Westchester County government Affordable Housing Needs Assessment concluded that Westchester needs approximately 11,700 units of affordable housing and it set forth a series of recommendations.

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Programs and Reports
One of the WCA's Real Estate & Housing Task Force’s tangible deliverables is the WCA Policy Playbook- a resource to design, validate and deploy land use policies and strategies to improve the planning, zoning, and approval process across the county. To help tackle the issue of affordable housing, WCA has partnered with Pace’s Land Use Law Center to create a brand-new chapter for the Playbook. The Policy Playbook directly addresses this vital challenge with specific policy recommendations, “how-to” guides, model zoning ordinances, municipality specific best practices, and training and funding resources.
The WCA annually convenes a stakeholder summit that draws many hundreds of participants who discuss the most pressing issues in real estate. Our most-recent summit was dedicated to the housing crisis in Westchester. Subject matter experts shared insights about many of the topics within the Policy Playbook and presented recommendations from the newly published affordable housing chapter.
In addition to the members of the WCA Real Estate and Housing Task Force, the WCA works closely with other key leadership groups from the public and private sectors to coordinate efforts of the various housing programs and initiatives. This coalition will mobilize a master outreach plan, including co-sponsored webinars, events, and training to leverage collective resources and technical assistance. Participants include: Pace University’s Land Use Law Center, Westchester County Office of Economic Development, Westchester County Office of Planning, Westchester Municipal Panning Federation. Builders & Realty Institute, Construction Industry Council, Urban Land Institute, and the Housing Action Council.
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