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The Top 5 Neighborhoods That Are Becoming Unaffordable to Locals

By Amy Zimmer | May 27, 2016 7:04am | Updated on May 27, 2016 4:54pm
 The South Bronx, where the 40th Precinct is located, has become more and more unaffordable for its residents, according to a new report.
The South Bronx, where the 40th Precinct is located, has become more and more unaffordable for its residents, according to a new report.
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DNAinfo/Eddie Small

BRONX — When it comes to neighborhoods where residents face the biggest challenge of affording to stay in their homes, The Bronx is home to the top five of them, according to an analysis from a housing advocacy group released Thursday.

Residents in the University Heights/Fordham area in the West Bronx are facing the No. 1 threat of affordability, according to the Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development’s report, which looked at several factors to make its determinations, including an area’s income, unemployment rate and percent of overcrowded households, among other categories.

Next in line were Highbridge/South Concourse, followed by Kingsbridge Heights/Bedford, Belmont/East Tremont and Morrisania/Crotona, according to the report.

 Hamilton Heights is one of the areas where sales prices, based on price per square foot, have risen most while incomes have not.
Hamilton Heights is one of the areas where sales prices, based on price per square foot, have risen most while incomes have not.
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DNAinfo/Gustavo Solis

The University Heights/Fordham area, for instance, had more than 3,000 families apply for shelter from 2012 to 2015, which was one of the highest numbers across the city.

More than 67 percent of households in that area were considered rent burdened — defined as paying more than 30 percent of your income on rent — and the neighborhood, which has a fairly high number of rent-stabilized units — at 28,698 according to 2014 data — also had among the highest number of housing litigations in the city from 2014 to 2015.

A high number of litigations are an indicator of residents having problems with landlords, said ANHD’s Barika Williams.

“These are signs and flags that residents are having problems related to quality of building stock, harassment or withholding services,” she said.

Other areas with a lot of housing litigations include Washington Heights/Inwood, Bedford-Stuyvesant and Bushwick.

But Williams noted that fewer housing litigations doesn’t necessarily mean fewer problems.

“Many times people in bigger multi-family buildings have a better understanding of their rights,” she said. “If you’re in rent-stabilized housing, there’s a clearer understanding of your rights, whereas folks in the private market may not know their rights.”

And if they’re uncertain whether an interaction with their landlord is illegal, they probably won’t speak up, Williams said.

It’s especially difficult to encourage undocumented immigrants and seniors to speak out, she noted. It’s also more rare to hear from renters in small buildings, with five or fewer units that are not rent stabilized.

“In a five-unit building where the landlord lives on the first floor and they have to walk past that person every day, it’s incredibly challenging to speak out,” Williams said.

Neighborhoods where the price per square foot for residential sales increased the most from 2010 to 2015 while incomes remained relatively low, the report noted, were concentrated in upper Manhattan: Morningside Heights/Hamilton Heights (208 percent), Central Harlem (201 percent) and East Harlem (158 percent).

Here is the analysis from the Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development: