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The Donut Effect
How Remote Work Is Transforming the Hudson Valley
In The Donut Effect, I collated a great deal of research that shows ‘anywhere from 14 to 23 million Americans are planning to move as a result of remote work. Combined with those who are moving regardless of remote work, near-term migration rates may be three to four times what they normally are.’
In the Hudson Valley, New Jersey, and Connecticut this could mean hundreds of thousands of knowledge workers will be moving farther from New York City, beyond conventional commuting range.
As I wrote for The River last October, there are really two different housing crises: a lack of affordable housing for low- and moderate-income residents, and a skyrocketing marketplace for single-family homes among high-income residents.
At the same time, I quoted Wally Adeyemo, the deputy secretary for the treasury, who pointed out in June 2021 that “no state in the country has an adequate supply of affordable housing for the lowest-income renters.” Nothing much has changed. US housing construction slowed from 1 percent between 2000 and 2010 to 0.7 percent the following decade. To meet actual demand over this decade, housing would have to grow to at least two million units a year, an increase of 60 percent over 2020’s pace. That is simply not going to happen.
We can anticipate, then, that the ills associated with the shortage of affordable housing will get worse, and quickly. These include more homelessness, more families spending too much of their income on housing, increased commuting as people are displaced by rent increases, and many secondary effects, like food insecurity.
As housing values rise, the most attractive municipalities may be able to accrue higher property taxes, which could underwrite social programs to offset the worst impacts of a surge in population, but it is unclear if such programs are being contemplated. New York Governor Kathy Hochul seems more inclined to exhorting knowledge workers to return to downtown New York City offices, rather than seeking to respond to what is happening.
Go read the whole thing.