With Long Island-born millennials, who once flocked from their suburban homes to live in the city, returning amid the pandemic, housing developers said this is the time to be pro-development and create a suburb that caters to a demographic it has long tried to retain.
“I think there is a great opportunity out of the disaster that we’re all facing right now,” Community Development Corporation of Long Island President and CEO Gwen O’Shea said on a Bisnow webinar about multifamily on Long Island.
O’Shea said the majority of millennials on Long Island live in single-family homes with their parents, and they will soon look for opportunities to live on their own in Long Island away from the density of the city.
“Post-COVID, the 19-to-40-ish age demographic now wants more than ever to actually stay on the Island,” she said. “Pre-COVID, they were looking to move off the Island, move into New York City.”
Elected officials, community officials and developers need to be prepared to cater to this group’s housing needs as soon as funding on the federal and state level is available, O’Shea said.
“We need to be ready on the Island,” she said. “Shovel-ready, with diversified housing opportunities and development, mixed-use development opportunities to get going, otherwise we’re going to lose out to other areas across the state.”
An anti-growth and anti-development sentiment has long been to the detriment of building workforce and affordable housing like this on Long Island, said Institutional Property Advisors Senior Vice President Jeffery Daniels, the brokerage's national director of multifamily and student housing.