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Why the affordability crisis stretches past the Big Apple

Greenport is part of the North Folk peninsula, in the northeast part of Suffolk County — and was long considered a more casual alternative to The Hamptons, New York’s string of seaside communities that serve as a summer destination for the wealthy and elite.

“Part of the squeeze with the North Fork is the spillover effect from the Hamptons because prices have risen so rapidly that the North Fork became this cheaper alternative — until it wasn’t,” said Jonathan Miller, president of real estate appraisal and consulting company Miller Samuel.

Median prices in North Folk have jumped 50% in four years to nearly $1 million, according to Miller Samuel and brokerage Douglas Elliman Real Estate. In the meanwhile, listings have plunged 60% to 137 properties for a population of around 50,000.

“It’s a huge concern. It’s not just a New York City issue anymore,” said Rachel Fee, executive director of the New York Housing Conference, which advocates for affordable housing. “Affordability is an issue across the state.”

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State leaders are negotiating housing deal

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said state leaders have reached a landmark deal on the framework of a new legislative plan to tackle the housing crisis.

The plan includes major tax breaks for developers to create affordable housing, higher wages for construction workers and protections for tenants, and would allow landlords of rent-stabilized apartments to raise rents in order to cover some renovations.

It would also lift some size limits on large apartment buildings and provide incentives to developers to convert vacant office buildings to housing.

However, it’s possible some details of the plan may still change, especially as critics voice their concerns.

“We are confident that this package falls far short of addressing the city’s housing needs and must be reassessed in the coming years to put the rental housing market on a solid footing,” James Whelan, president of the Real Estate Board of New York, said in a statement.

In the meanwhile, Connor said the Greenport hospital is hoping to expand housing for its workforce after seeing its staff that live in the area plunge from 80% to 47% in two decades.

The hospital’s foundation is also considering shared equity programs that help doctors with their down payments in exchange for collecting a slice of their home equity.

“Whether you’re a cardiologist or you work in one of the local restaurants, it’s to the advantage of everyone in our community to have people who live and work locally,” Connor said.

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Serah Louis is a reporter with Moneywise.com. She enjoys tackling topical personal finance issues for young people and women and covering the latest in financial news.

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