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June 8, 2011


DiNapoli Analysis: Affordable Housing Scarce in New York City

A combination of low vacancy rates, rising rents, stagnant income, and a decline in the number of rent regulated housing units have contributed to the lack of affordable housing options for New York City residents, according to an analysis released today by Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.

“New York City’s economic well-being is predicated on the availability of affordable housing for working families,” said Comptroller DiNapoli.  “Without the protections provided by rent regulations, many New Yorkers would simply be priced out of their homes.  We have a strong tradition of protecting affordable housing in New York.  Rent regulations keep the price tag of living in New York within reach for millions of working men and women.  That’s good for the city and the city’s economy.”

According to DiNapoli’s report, two-thirds of all households in New York City are rental housing.  In 2008, of the more than 2.1 million rental units in the City, nearly 1.4 million (64 percent) were regulated, including rent-stabilized, rent-controlled, public housing, Mitchell-Lama or other regulated apartments. The number of rent-regulated apartments in New York City declined by a net of more than 10,000 units in 2009 as more apartments reached the $2,000 monthly rent threshold required for deregulation.

The new report uses recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau to support findings from a 2009 State Comptroller's report, which found that rental units were becoming less affordable in New York City.

  • Median rent (adjusted for inflation, and excluding utilities) for regulated and unregulated rental units rose by 7.2 percent in 2009, to $980 per month. Including utilities, median rent rose by 4.4 percent, to $1,080.
  • In 2009, 43.5 percent of New York City rental households devoted more than 30 percent of their incomes toward rent (excluding utilities), up 5.5 percentage points from 2000. Nearly 24 percent of households paid more than 50 percent of their incomes for rent.
  • When the cost of utilities was included, rental costs exceeded 30 percent of income for nearly half of renters, and exceeded 50 percent of income for more than one-quarter of renters.
  • The rent burden is highest among lower-income residents. Among households in the bottom third of the income distribution for renters, nearly 80 percent paid more than 30 percent of their incomes to rent and nearly 60 percent paid more than 50 percent.

To view the report visit:


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