421-a: History of 421a

History of 421-a

The program started in 1971, as a way to combat a weak real estate market, marked by declining property values and a downturn in the city’s population.

As New York’s real estate market recovered in the 1980s, the program was amended to require that new construction in relatively prosperous neighborhoods in Manhattan either set aside affordable housing units or finance the construction of affordable units off-site.

The City forfeited more than $1.1 billion in tax revenue in 2014 alone through the 421-a program, 60% of which subsidized buildings in Manhattan. With 421a set to expire this June, Albany must decide whether to renew, amend, or phase out this program as it reaches its 44th anniversary.