Income lags behind housing costs for New Yorkers

(Credit: DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)
Millions of New Yorkers have trouble affording their housing. Credit: Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images

Housing costs in New York have risen while incomes have declined, resulting in more New Yorkers unable to afford their homes, according to a new report by state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.

As of 2012, more than 3 million renters and homeowners paid 30 percent or more of household income on housing costs, which means they are at or above the affordability threshold as defined by the federal government.

According to census data, housing costs increased by 18.6 percent for renters and 9.9 percent for homeowners from 2000 to 2012. Meanwhile, median household income decreased 7.1 percent for renters and 1.6 percent for homeowners.

Though incomes and housing costs vary in different parts of the state, a significant number of homeowners and renters in both urban and rural areas are facing difficulty paying their housing costs, the report states.

The highest proportion of households that cannot afford rent was in the Bronx, where 57.6 percent of renters paid more than 30 percent of their income on housing. Other areas with high proportions of renters paying that much were Green, Ulster, Rockland, Orange, Putnam, Monroe, Westchester, Suffolk and Nassau counties.

The counties with the lowest percentages of renters paying 30 percent or more of their income for housing were in the upper Hudson Valley, or farther north and west New York county, where high housing costs are offset by comparatively high incomes.

Homeowners also struggled to pay rising costs, the report found. In 2012, the downstate region was home to all 10 counties with the highest proportions of homeowners paying 30 percent or more of income for housing, with Kings, Nassau, Suffolk, Bronx and Queens counties leading the list.

The lack of affordable housing affects the state’s economy, according to the report.

“As increasing numbers of households face housing costs above the affordability threshold, the consequences may include reduced potential for economic growth and troubling impacts on New Yorkers’ quality of life,” the report states.



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