Thursday, September 13, 2007

Housing Costs in New York

Housing Takes Bigger Bite of New Yorkers' Incomes, Census Data Shows


In Brooklyn, 31 percent of homeowners with a mortgage are spending 50 percent or more of their income on housing costs, the highest percentage in any large county in the state.

Welcome to my world! Fortunately, I am only spending about 23% of my gross pay on housing. (I'm presuming the article and the data it references are using "income" to mean gross pay or rather than net after taxes.) And I've been luckier that most in terms of managing to keep my housing costs stable while getting regular increases to my pay, and hopefully that trend will continue, as I have a fixed-rate mortgage and only have to worry about increases in property taxes and maintenance charges. But the overall trend is that incomes here are not rising at the same pace as housing costs.

I was surprised at some of the stats quoted. Manhattan's median rent is still only $1,081. "ONLY???" you say. But ask most New Yorkers if they really believe that half of all apartments in Manhattan are rented for under $1,081. Ask them how many people they know who rent an apartment for under $1,081. Yes, of course they are out there, and it's not really a surprise that someone like myself, who mostly knows educated, middle-class professionals like myself, does not know many people who rent apartments at the lower end of the market. But still.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yeah, quite frankly, that median rent price for Manhattan is VERY suspect. Even in the cheaper areas like Washington Heights and Inwood, one bedrooms seem to be averaging $1000 and three bedrooms $1500. With studios at around $900, the city would be disproportionately full of them, and that's not the case.

The only thing I can figure is that about half the people surveyed are in the same apartment they've been in for 30 years under rent control, or the survey asked how much people pay on average--which is not the same as the rent price. I pay $875 a month, but that's because my apartment is $1750 and I split the cost with a roommate. But if you factor us in as individuals paying $875 each, you bring down the median rent.

Anonymous said...

I pay $3040 a month for a 1 bedroom on West 37th st. NYC. My lease is up this summer and I don't know where to go or what to do.

Anonymous said...

We pay $2400 in Williamsburg for a duplex condo.

And we moved from Manhattan because of the ridiculous rents. That average seems very suspect to me as well.

Amy said...

"A study by the Community Service Society of New York found that the city’s low-income families, after spending much of their income on rent, are left with only $32 a week per family member."

Ouch.

Anonymous said...

It's $1081 a month, but that is b/c they share the apartment with at least one other person and their "room" is actually the hallway from the kitchen to the bedroom...

Money Blue Book said...

DC area rent is pricey too. I pay $1425 for a relatively cheap 1 bedroom apartment. No utilities are included.

Of course, my rent pales in comparison to some people who are paying $3000+ in NYC. Unless they have very, very high paying jobs, how can ordinary people afford that?

-Raymond

Single Ma said...

I wonder if that figure includes low income housing. Then again, there probably isn't much of that (if any at all) in Manhattan.

Ursula said...

"gross pay" and "net after taxes" are two entirely different things. You used them interchangeably. :)

Madame X said...

whoops, typo! I meant to say "gross pay rather than net after taxes". thanks ursula.

Anonymous said...

My sister lived in Washington Heights/Inwood for close to 20 years and her last rent there was roughly $600 for a 1 bedroom. She says living there (in a non-chic neighborhood) allowed her not to have to work full-time. She's tried for years to get one of those subsidized apartments set aside in new buildings for people with lower incomes(Mitchell Lama?). It's a lottery system and she was recently picked, and passed all the financial requirements (income not higher than a certain amount, good credit) and now she's living in a beautiful 1 bedroom in a brand new building in Chelsea, with a gym and a great view of the Hudson. She says she's paying less than what she paid in Washington Heights.
I have mixed feelings about this, since she's perfectly capable of working and paying more for rent, and there are so many people in NYC who are really in need of affordable housing.

PiggyBankBlues said...

It's not an easy thing for me to wrap my head around, but I think that affordable housing needs to include the lower middle class. If public housing has a mix of both the working poor and other classes, it will help prevent things like ghettos. In East Williamsburgh (realtor-speak for Bushwick) I lived near huge public housing towers, but all the apartments were co-ops. They owned their own apartments, and the neighborhood reflected the fact that they were invested in where they lived.

Anonymous said...

There's a reason why no sane home builder will build affordable units, rent laws in NYC don't give them any incentive to build anything that will rent for less then $2,000 a month. That's why the only apartments that go up are 'luxury'. If we just repealed these antiquated rent laws from WW2 that only protect a hand full of people, many of them rich mind you, we would be able to help out all the middle to lower middle income families that can no longer afford rents in this city, maybe we can also give landlords a reason to stop burning down their low rent buildings as well, and increase inventory.

Alison said...

my boyfriend lives in Manhattan and they were "forced" to move out of their building in midtown because it was being converted to condos. They raised the rent by 20% to $6,000/month for a 3BR place. Finding a comparable apt was hard (doorman, good location, etc) as well, plus the security deposit, broker fee. Although the housing costs are so high in NYC, the trade off is a higher income, city life, and no car/car insurance to pay!