Half of New York residents can’t afford the rent: study

Housing costs going up, incomes going down

More than half of New York households are dishing out more on rent than they can afford, according to a report by the state comptroller.

Since 2000, the share of renters in the state who put more than 30 percent of their income towards housing costs has increased sharply, from 40.5 percent to 50.6 percent, according to a report by Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, released earlier this week.

According to federal guidelines, housing is not considered to be affordable when costs exceed the 30 percent threshold.

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Based on that standard, a full third of of homeowners also can’t afford their mortgages — up from 26.4 percent in 2000, the New York Times reported.

In New York City nabes, the percentages are even higher. In the Bronx, about 57 percent of renters pay more than 30 percent of their income for rent and utilities, the report showed. Brooklyn and Queens also had some of the highest percentages of households above the affordability threshold.

The lack of affordability can be attributed to rising housing costs coupled with declining household incomes, according to the report.  Median housing costs increased 18.6 percent for renters since 2000, and 9.9 percent for homeowners. But median household income for homeowners declined 1.6 percent since 2000, and 7.1 percent for renters.

The problem is exacerbated by low vacancy rates, which translate to higher rents, as well as rising property taxes, the Times reported. [NYT] — Angela Hunt