Long Island’s housing costs are so high that four in 10 young adults live with relatives, and seven in 10 say they’re likely to move to a less-expensive region within five years, a new survey shows.
Of Long Islanders 18 to 34 years old, 41 percent live with parents or other relatives, according to the survey to be released Wednesday by the Long Island Index, a project of the Garden City-based Rauch Foundation. That’s up 6 percentage points from 2015 and 10 percentage points from 2004.
The new survey found that 71 percent of young adults — and 59 percent of all adults — said they were “somewhat” or “very” likely to leave in the next five years in search of lower housing costs.
The Island needs more housing options, including downtown rentals, said Nancy Rauch Douzinas, president of the Rauch Foundation. “If we want to keep young people around, we have to have something they can afford,” she said.
Long Islanders have grown increasingly likely to consider lifting long-standing restrictions on rentals. The survey found that 57 percent of residents favor allowing four-story buildings in downtowns, with apartments above shops, and 68 percent said rental apartments should be allowed in private homes.
The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.1 percentage points. It used cellphones and landlines to reach 1,423 Long Island residents.
The support for apartments in private homes “is at an all-time high,” and support for downtown development is close to its 2014 peak of 58 percent, said Leonie Huddy, a professor of political science at Stony Brook University and an author of the survey report.
Many young adults on Long Island say they want to stay, but they’re not sure they can afford homes here.
Dylan and Ally McElroy, both 25, live with their children, 2-year-old Kaylee and 5-month-old Brayden, in a two-bedroom basement apartment in the home of Ally’s parents in Bohemia while Dylan finishes his MBA at St. John’s University, where he also works full-time in the college athletics office.
Dylan said many of his friends have moved to places such as South Carolina, where they pay as little as $600 a month for spacious homes.
“Obviously, it would be easy to pack up and head down South like everyone one else is doing, but I do love it here and I would love to stay here if possible,” he said.
The McElroys applied last year for a down payment assistance grant through the Community Development Corp. of Long Island, but never made it off the waiting list. They’ll try again this year.
The wages earned by recent college graduates often are too low to qualify for Long Island’s pricey rentals, which can easily cost $1,600 or more, said David Vitt, an economics professor at Farmingdale State College. “When they get a $40,000 job, it’s tough for them to convince a landlord to take a risk on them,” he said.
Building more apartments could put a damper on price growth, he said.
In addition to high housing costs, Long Islanders also face hefty student debt and job growth that’s concentrated in the lower-paying service sector, said Gwen O’Shea, chief executive of the Community Development Corp. of Long Island in Centereach.
“People are looking at their finances, taking into account the cost of living and saying, ‘This math just doesn’t work out,’ ” O’Shea said.
Percentage of Long Island residents 18-34 living with parents, in-laws or other relative:
2004: 31 percent
2015: 35 percent
2017: 41 percent
Source: Long Island Index