Report: New Yorkers Can't Afford to Pay Their Rent

High housing costs, low vacancy rates, and falling incomes are conspiring to make housing unaffordable for many New Yorkers

David Lev ,

Illustration: New York
Illustration: New York
Eliran Aharon

More than half of New Yorkers are paying more rent than they can afford, according to a report released by New York City Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.

According to most experts, “affordable” housing costs are pegged at 30% of household income; since 2000, the number of New Yorkers who were paying as much as 50% of their incomes on rent has risen sharply, with over half spending between 30% and 50% for rent.

The 30% threshold for affordable rent is set by federal guidelines. According to those guidelines, 33% of New Yorkers cannot afford to pay their mortgages, up from just a quarter in 2000.

The high expense of living in New York City was not restricted to Manhattan; according to DiNapoli, some of the most expensive neighborhoods in the city are in Brooklyn and Queens, including many neighborhoods with a high Jewish population.

The increasing difficulty for households in paying their rent or mortgage is due to a combination of factors, including increased housing costs and declining incomes. In addition, renters had an additional problem – that of low vacancy rates, the report said, which increases competition, and thus prices, for the apartments that are available.

Israel for its part is dealing with a housing crisis as well. In February the Bank of Israel reported that housing prices continued to rise, going up by eight percent over the 12 months concluding in October 2013.