Yang Proposes Market Value Property Tax Assessments on Vacant Lots

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Andrew Yang proposes an increase of property taxes for vacant lots that he says will spur development. Pictued with him is City Councilmember Carlos Menchaca. Contributed photo.

Mayoral candidate Andrew Yang stood along the East River today outside a vacant parcel of land to announce a plan to raise nearly $1 billion in new revenue for the city by incentivizing development on empty lots across the five boroughs. 

Under the plan, all private vacant lot owners would see a raise in their assessed value on their city property tax bill to the market value of the said property. No New Yorker would see an increase in taxes on their apartments, home, office, or small business, promised Yang. Community gardens are also exempt. 

“Land is New York’s most precious resource, yet there are thousands of lots across the City sitting wasted and undeveloped because there’s effectively a disincentive to build,” said Yang. 

The plan hopes to stimulate development on large, vacant plots of land across all five boroughs,  “reforming the property tax system,” and fixing wasted land assessments, said Yang. 

There are currently 16,000 privately-owned vacant lots with over 1,000 square feet available. 

The city’s population saw an increase of 500,000 from 2009 to 2018, however, the number of housing units only increased by 100,000, said the Comptroller’s office.

“As mayor, I’m committed to making it easier to build in New York City. Raising the assessment on vacant land to its market value would spur housing and economic development while generating hundreds of millions of dollars in much-needed revenue for the City,” continued Yang.

According to Yang, most vacant land on average is valued below market price. Yang’s plan would use the Department of Finance (DOF)s power to bring the currently vacant plots of land up to market value, stimulating housing development. 

The plan would eliminate the most profitable strategy in the current system, which is for an investor is to leave the land empty, Yang said. 

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