This paper inventories strategies for maintaining affordable housing toward perpetuity in hot markets in an increasing number of locales. Long-term affordable housing strategies answer the call to make affordable housing resources last longer as federal funding for affordable housing diminishes, rental affordability programs expire, and owners prematurely buy their way out of affordable mortgages. The need is especially acute in hot-market cities, like New York City, that have seen large development programs end without any adequate replacements. The strategies span rental and homeownership delivery mechanisms, subsidy and equity sharing, cooperatives and community governance, land regulation, extending existing termed programs, and amassing funds to sustain affordable housing, with a focus on producing long-term affordable units through inclusionary zoning. Interviews with national policymakers and experienced affordable and mixed-income housing developers bring new light to the success of these mechanisms.
This study finds that neither relying on inclusionary zoning nor extending affordable housing programs should be considered a replacement for federal subsidies. Innovating new programs means setting numbers of units produced against longevity, affordability and occupants' capacity to generate equity. Recommendations are given first in terms of challenges, tensions, trade-offs and new questions that these strategies create, and then to specific actors in the policymaking arena. Nonprofits should focus on monitoring long-term affordability and accountability. Municipalities and local governments should better regulate sources and uses of housing trust funds, focus on helping fund first-time homebuyers, consider input from local developers, consider long-term inclusionary zoning regulation, and monitor productivity and long-term regulation. Policymakers and researchers should consider why potential homebuyers have selected riskier subprime mortgage products over more secure equitysharing products and might want to better advertise equity-sharing options. Finally, New York City should expand its voluntary inclusionary program to more neighborhoods and better track its production and longevity.