New York housing costs are going down, down, baby

New census data show that households are not spending as much on housing costs

The exterior of an NYC apartment building
The exterior of an NYC apartment building

It may seem counterintuitive, but there are signs that housing in New York is actually getting more affordable.

A new survey from the U.S. Census Bureau has found that housing costs are not taking up as much of a household’s monthly budget and that the rental-vacancy rate is the third highest it has been since 1965, when the bureau did its first survey, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Sign Up for the undefined Newsletter

A construction surge and strong economy are to thank for the changes, with job growth starting to outpace rent increases. Household income for New Yorkers rose by 11 percent over a three-year period, while rents rose by 8.2 percent.

The survey found a record number of housing units in the five boroughs — 3.47 million — with more than 35,000 new rental apartments and 15,000 condos set to open over the next two years. The citywide vacancy rate was 3.63 percent, and in Manhattan it was 4.73 percent, the borough’s highest level in at least a decade.

Landlords are arguing that the City Council should remove some housing categories from rent regulation because of the strength of the housing market, primarily apartments in Manhattan and units renting for $2,000 or more. However, housing commissioner Maria Torres-Springer told the Journal that despite the rosy stats, New York “is still facing a dire affordability crisis.” [WSJ]Eddie Small