Wednesday, March 12, 2014


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Rising costs hitting homeowners and renters statewide, comptroller’s report finds

ALBANY - Housing costs in New York rose sharply relative to income from 2000 to 2012, with more than half of renters and more than a third of homeowners paying at least 30 percent of their 2012 income for a place to live, according to a report released by State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.

“Regardless of where they live, more New Yorkers are feeling pinched by rising housing costs,”DiNapoli said. “When half your income goes to pay for a place to live, you are going to be stretched thin on other every day purchases. This unfortunate trend has troubling implications for our economic growth and for New Yorkers’quality of life.”

DiNapoli’s report evaluates New York state housing affordability trends from 2000 to 2012 using U.S. Census Bureau data. The federal government describes affordable housing costs as being below 30 percent of household income. Statewide, more than 3 million households are at or above the affordability threshold of 30 percent of household income. 

The percentage of households with rents above the affordability level increased from 40.5 percent in 2000 to 50.6 percent in 2012, while the percentage of homeowners above the affordability level rose from 26.4 in 2000 to 33.9 percent in 2012.

For some New Yorkers, the affordability challenge is even more difficult. As of 2012, nearly 28 percent of renters and 15 percent of homeowners paid housing costs that were at least half of their household income –a level the U.S. Census Bureau describes as “severely cost-burdened.”

Housing affordability is affected by both housing costs and income levels. After adjusting for inflation, median monthly housing costs in New York rose by 18.6 percent for renters and 9.9 percent for homeowners from 2000 to 2012. During that time, homeowners’median household income declined 1.6 percent and renters’median household income dropped 7.1 percent in constant dollars. Property taxes, one factor in overall housing costs, rose 12.3 percent statewide after adjusting for inflation. 

Incomes and housing costs vary regionally statewide and are generally higher in the New York City metropolitan area, although housing affordability is a statewide challenge. Bronx County, for example, had the highest proportion of renters with housing costs of 30 percent or more of income in 2012, at nearly 58 percent. The second-highest was in rural Greene County, at 57.5 percent. Counties with the lowest percentages of renters paying more than 30 percent of income for housing were farther north and west.

The proportion of incomes devoted to housing rose from 2000 to 2012 in almost all of the state’s 62 counties. For example, in 2000, 12.2 percent of homeowners in Suffolk County and 6.3 percent of those in Essex County paid more than half of household income for housing costs. In 2012, those figures rose to 19.1 percent and 11.2 percent. 

The report found that many New Yorkers are feeling pressure from a combination of stagnant or declining real income, as well as increasing housing costs. A combination of factors including comparatively slow economic growth over time, a rising property tax burden, and limited housing supply in many areas of the state contribute to the increasing challenge New Yorkers face in finding affordable housing.

For a copy of the report, visit: