New Yorkers Pay More for Rent While Earning Less, Report Finds
CIVIC CENTER — Rents are on the rise in New York City, but residents' incomes are falling — making it even harder for the poorest New Yorkers to stay afloat, according to a report released by Comptroller Scott Stringer’s office Wednesday.
Median rents across the five boroughs skyrocketed 75 percent, from $630 per month in 2000 to $1,100 per month in 2012, even as median real income declined by nearly 5 percent over the same time period, the report found.
Lower-income households have been hit particularly hard, according to the report. In 2000, renters earning between $20,000 and $40,000 spent on average a third of their income on rent. Twelve years later, that same group poured 41 percent of their income into rent, the report found.
But the struggle to find affordable housing has extended to New Yorkers with higher incomes as well, according to Stringer's report.
Housing affordability, which the report defined as the ratio between rent and income, decreased for renters in every income group from 2000 to 2012, the report says.
“Despite multi-billion dollar initiatives to expand the affordable housing stock in New York City, apartments have become more expensive across every income level with the working poor disproportionately affected,” Stringer said in a statement. “It is critical to understand our city’s housing landscape so that we can target the next investment of resources. New York City’s position among global cities will be defined by how well we respond to this crisis.”
Williamsburg and Greenpoint in Brooklyn saw the sharpest increase in real average rents over the 12 years, going up 76.1 percent since 2000. These neighborhoods also saw the number of households making over $100,000 a year more than double, from 5,794 in 2000 to 13,389 by 2012, according to the report.
Another set of Brooklyn neighborhoods, Brooklyn Heights and Fort Greene, also saw a spike in rents, which went up 58 percent since 2000, from $933 to $1,474, according to the report. The neighborhoods also saw a 76 percent increase in the number of six-figure households.
Other neighborhoods, such as Astoria, saw a more modest rise in rents. There, rents rose at about half the rate as they did in Brooklyn Heights and Fort Greene — 34.4 percent — from $882 in 2000 to $1,125 in 2012.
The Mid-Island area of Staten Island and Coney Island in Brooklyn saw the lowest increases in rents, with an increase of only 3.2 percent and 6.8 percent respectively, according to the report.
The report noted Mayor Bill de Blasio’s goal of creating or maintaining 200,000 units of affordable housing over the next decade, adding that it is “appropriate to take stock of the city’s housing circumstances, to evaluate the changes that have taken place in the city’s housing landscape, and to identify the most urgent housing needs we now face.”
The report makes a number of broad suggestions, including implementing programs to specifically help lower-income renters, taking steps to preserve rent regulation and investing in the city's public housing stock.
“In the modern era, there has been a crisis of affordability, but the conditions and the demands of that crisis have changed," Stringer said. "We have begun to define the issues, now begins the work to provide affordable housing at all levels of the economic spectrum."