NYC property tax exemption program : existing policies and future planning
Author(s)Wu, Jenny Chiani
New York City property tax exemption program : existing policies and future planning
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Center for Real Estate. Program in Real Estate Development.
W. Tod McGrath.
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New York City's tax expenditures relate to real property tax totaled $4.5 billion in fiscal year 2012. The largest expenditure relates to the "421-a" tax exemption program for new multi-family residential real estate development, which costs the New Yorkers nearly $1 billion in foregone tax revenue (Office of Tax Policy, FY 2012). The 421-a program was originally established in the 1970s to spur new multi-family developments. Initially, developers received full tax exemption on the assessed value of the new construction, which then decreased by a phase-out schedule where their property taxes were payable in full at the end of benefit period. As the private development market recovered, the city calibrated the program to (i) exclude certain neighborhoods from receiving benefits for strictly market-rate development and (ii) to spur affordable housing development by offering benefits of the program if a certain percentage of the total units constructed were affordable. Despite the success of the strategy in delivering 142,044 residential units in 2012 (Office of Tax Policy, FY 2012), the program has been subjected to increasing scrutiny as New York City's need for real estate tax revenue has increased. It is unclear how many of these units would have been built without the exemption. Many opponents have argued for the termination of the program because it has not produced benefits commensurate with the huge tax expenditures New York City has made, and that the beneficiaries had been landowners who captured the value of the abatements through higher land prices. As the program approaches its potential renewal in June 15, 2015, it is worthwhile to conduct a detailed analysis of the efficacy and cost of the current program. The thesis offers a thorough yet intelligible case study of a co-op building in Chelsea of how the property taxes would be calculated and the program's impact on the financial feasibility of the development. Different scenarios are created that follows each of the program reforms to understand the actual value of the property tax exemptions to developers and the ways in which such value is distributed. In the current environment where many New Yorkers find themselves facing a daunting housing market with decreased production and increased demand for affordable units, the program should strengthen its benefits to steer more developers towards creating affordable housing. Alternative financial models based on the case study suggest that the return of an improved negotiable certificate program can make the 421-a program a more effective affordable housing incentive without additional cost to the city.
Thesis (S.M. in Real Estate Development)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Program in Real Estate Development in Conjunction with the Center for Real Estate, 2012.Cataloged from department-submitted PDF version of thesis. This electronic version was submitted and approved by the author's academic department as part of an electronic thesis pilot project. The certified thesis is available in the Institute Archives and Special Collections.Includes bibliographical references (p. 106-108).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Center for Real Estate. Program in Real Estate Development.; Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Center for Real Estate
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Center for Real Estate. Program in Real Estate Development.