Even a six-figure income isn't enough to afford the majority of homes in New York City, leaving ownership out of reach of a higher proportion of the city's residents than the rate nationally, new research has found.
According to the newly released NYU Furman Center/Citi Report on Homeownership and Opportunity in New York City, 51 percent of citywide households earned $55,000 or less annually, yet they could afford only 9 percent of home sales in 2014, the report stated. Even the 78 percent of households earning up to $114,000 per year could only afford 42 percent of home sales in the city.
"For low-income and moderate-income New York City households, we find that the homeownership rate was not only lower than the national rate but disproportionately lower," the report’s authors stated. "If housing prices continue to rise at a pace faster than incomes, the availability of housing stock affordable to these income groups will continue to shrink."
While the U.S. homeownership rate was roughly 66 percent, the New York area presented the opposite: Only one-third of households owned their home, according to the report. That figure was even lower for households pulling in less than $55,000 per year.
"Since 1990, incomes have stagnated while the costs of housing – both rental housing and home sales prices – have skyrocketed," said Mark Willis, senior policy fellow at the NYU Furman Center, and co-author of the study. "As a result, there are not enough homes available for purchase at prices affordable to the vast majority of New Yorkers."
Within the city, the five boroughs themselves had unique qualities when it came to homeownership, the report added. Staten Island enjoyed a homeownership rate more than double the New York City average and higher than the U.S. average. Conversely, the Bronx had the second-lowest homeownership rate of all U.S. counties, with Manhattan and Brooklyn ranking as the third- and fourth-lowest.
Residents moving outside the city may find more affordable options, but a longer, more expensive commute would have to be considered along with improved availability of affordable homes. "Options for [Low-, middle- and moderate-income] households are somewhat better in Nassau County, with Suffolk County offering a much more affordable mix of housing options," the report stated, adding that housing options were most limited in Westchester County.
Between 1990 and 2015, according to the report, New York City housing prices rose nearly 200 percent across all property types, while incomes did not maintain that increased pace during the same time frame.
"In order to respond effectively to the uniquely complex and competitive housing market of the greater New York City area, this new research suggests that we must continue to work across sectors on bold new solutions that ensure all New Yorkers have access to housing that is both safe and affordable – as well as the opportunities to build wealth and assets over the long term," Bob Annibale, global director of Citi Community Development and Inclusive Finance, stated about the report.