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NYU Furman Center & Capital One Release Affordable Rental Housing Landscape Illustrating NYC Rental Housing Trends (Graphic: Business Wire)

“We know there is a great demand for, but short supply of, affordable housing. Essential members of our community, including teachers, police officers, nurses and firefighters, continue to be priced out of the city,” said Laura Bailey, Managing Vice President, Community Development Finance, Capital One, one of the nation’s top 10 affordable housing lenders. “That’s why we continue to work with leading local housing developers to help expand access to quality, safe, affordable rental housing for more New Yorkers. We recognize that investing in affordable housing is about more than just financing construction – it’s about expanding economic opportunity for individuals, families and communities.”

Rental Rates Outpacing Earnings

For many New York City renters, rents have increased while income has decreased.

  • Among renters, the median income grew faster than the median rent from 2005 to 2008. From 2008 to 2011, however, the median household income fell while rents continued to climb.
  • Despite a small uptick in the median income of renter households from 2011 to 2012, the cost burden of renting a home remains far larger than it was pre-2009.
  • Rents rose in four out of five boroughs. Manhattan experienced the greatest increase (+19 percent) and Staten Island was the only borough to see rents fall (-3 percent). The median rent in Queens rose 8 percent; the Bronx, 10 percent; and Brooklyn, 12 percent.
  • The increasing rents in Manhattan outpaced the city-wide increase in rent, rising nearly twice as fast as in Queens, the Bronx and Brooklyn.

The Growing Burden of Rent

Since 2007, rent burdens in New York City intensified, and households at most income levels are feeling the effects.

  • From 2007-2012, the number of rent-burdened households in New York City increased by 125,000. This includes almost 90,000 households who paid half or more of their monthly income on rent in 2012.
  • Not surprisingly, lower-income residents are more severely rent-burdened. However, the increase in the share of residents who are rent-burdened has been driven almost entirely by moderate- and middle-income households (among three-person households in 2012, those who earned more than $59,800 and up to $149,400 per year).

Affordability Is a Complex Issue

The city’s rental housing affordability problems run deeper than the recent recession. The affordable housing crisis is complex: population growth, a fixed supply of land, slow pace of new development, complicated land use regulations, and the loss of rent-regulated units all contribute to the issue.

  • Most renters who moved in 2007 found fewer affordable rental units than in 2000, especially those earning lower incomes.
  • Renters who recently moved are especially vulnerable to rising costs in the rental market and paid on average 20 percent higher rent than all renters combined over 2005 to 2012.
  • Of the rental housing units affordable to a very low-income three-person household in 2012, almost 30 percent of them were occupied by households with higher incomes.

The Community Impact

More and more, New York City is becoming a place where many low- and moderate-income households, including those headed by public servants, are unable to afford to live. Homes entering the rental market are particularly unaffordable.

  • As one example, a rookie firefighter married to a substitute teacher with one child in 2000* could have afforded more than 70 percent of available housing units. By 2007, however, that same family saw this share shrink to less than half, which remained unchanged in 2012.
  • For a moderate-income household of three, the percentage of affordable and available 2+ bedroom housing units has declined by over 20 percentage points since 2000.

The complete Affordable Rental Housing Landscape and additional information are available online at www.capitaloneinvestingforgood.com and http://furmancenter.org/NYCRentalLandscape.

* Source: NYC.gov.

About the Affordable Rental Housing Landscape Research Study

The Affordable Rental Housing Landscape, commissioned by Capital One and conducted by the NYU Furman Center, analyzes rental housing affordability trends in New York City from 2000 to 2012 with a focus on changes since 2005. The Furman Center’s past research has shown that over half of renter households in New York City are rent burdened, paying more than 30 percent of their gross income on rent and utilities. This study delves more deeply into recent trends in rent levels, rent burdens, affordable units, and the gap between the number of low-income households in need of affordable housing and the number of existing affordable units. This analysis is based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau, including data from the American Community Survey from 2005 through 2012.

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