Long Island Real Estate: Levittown Suburb Abandons Its Affordable Roots

You might not notice it while cruising down the Long Island Expressway on the Hampton Jitney, but Long Island, N.Y. -- once the epitome of the suburban dream -- is having something of a midlife crisis as politicians, civic organizations and developers debate how to create more affordable housing.

Yes, the place that brought the world Levittown, the ultimate post-1945 mass suburb with cheap housing, has fallen behind in its ability to offer affordable homes, especially apartments. In fact, only 17 percent of the Island's housing stock is rental (compared to 38 percent in tony Westchester County, N.Y.).

The Island is certainly a place for those in the upper income bracket: Home values, even after the real estate bust, are five times household incomes, making Nassau and Suffolk counties among the 10 least-affordable counties in the U.S.

Who or what is to blame, and how do we move forward?