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Long Island’s high cost of living is forcing millennials to remain in their parents’ households later into adulthood than their counterparts in 1970, a new study found, posing a major threat to Long Island’s economy.

The Long Island Association reports that less than 21 percent of young adults ages 25 to 34 owned their own homes in 2016, down 47 percent since 1970. The dip in home ownership means a dip in home-related spending, including real estate broker and attorney fees, furniture, and maintenance costs.

The study reports that millennial dependency is costing Long Island’s economy over $700 million per year.

Kevin Law, Chief of the Long Island Association acknowledges that “the creation of new households is critical to a growing economy…We need to make sure that we are not putting any roadblocks in the way of millennials who are trying to get their own place.”

However, the roadblocks are currently endless. An uncompetitive economy has driven Long Island’s home prices up while wages have sharply declined. Over the last 50 years, wages dropped 22 percent while average home prices climbed from $180,000 in 1970 to $450,000 in 2017, after accounting for inflation. The high cost of doing business on Long Island has driven firms away, creating a ripple effect in the labor and housing markets.

Millennials barely have the money to put a down payment on a house, let alone afford Long Island’s outrageous property taxes, which are among the highest in the nation at an average of over $10,000 per year. While young Long Islanders once earned a median salary of $51,458 in 1970, the current average of $40,000 simply won’t cut it.

Not only do these financial obstacles make it nearly impossible for millennials to live an independent, adult life, but they are also preventing the local economy from growing as it should. The LIA urges lawmakers to reevaluate the region’s tax structure, housing costs, job availability, transportation infrastructure, and educational opportunities.

Until legislators address Long Island’s debilitating affordability crisis and create more lucrative opportunities for millennials to live on their own, the region’s economy will remain at risk.

Has the affordability crisis in New York affected you or someone you love? Find out what you can do about it by joining Reclaim New York today.

Photo by Teresa J. Cleveland