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DiNapoli: Millions Of New Yorkers Living In Homes Above Affordability Level

A "for rent" sign. (credit: Clipart.com)

A “for rent” sign. (credit: Clipart.com)

ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP)Housing has become less affordable in New York State as rental and home sale prices continue to rise while incomes decline, U.S. Census data shows.

State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli on Monday said an analysis of census data shows median statewide monthly housing costs increased by 18.6 percent for renters and 9.9 percent for homeowners from 2000 to 2012. During the same time, homeowners’ median household income decreased 1.6 percent and renters’ median household income dropped 7.1 percent.

Affordable housing is defined by the federal government as being below 30 percent of household income. DiNapoli says more than 3 million households statewide paid at least 30 percent of their 2012 income for a place to live.

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“Regardless of where they live, more New Yorkers are feeling pinched by rising housing costs,” DiNapoli said in a statement. “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.”

Although incomes and housing costs are generally higher in the New York City area, DiNapoli says housing affordability is a statewide issue.

According to the census data, 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.

As of 2012, the comptroller’s office found 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.”

Residents in the Bronx had the highest proportion of renters with housing costs of 30 percent or more of income in 2012, at nearly 58 percent.

“New Yorkers across the state are fighting to free themselves of the hardships they face because of the shortage of suitable and affordable housing. As chairman of the Assembly Housing Committee, I remain committed to working with residents, my colleagues in the Legislature and stakeholders on all sides of the affordable housing conversation to reach a solution that will bring meaningful relief and sustainable growth – not just for right now – but for the needs of our future New Yorkers and their families,” Assemblyman Keith Wright (D-Brooklyn) said in a statement.

The proportion of income devoted to housing went from 12.2 percent in Suffolk County in 2000 to 19.1 percent in 2012, the data showed.

“The lack of affordable housing, especially on Long Island, reduces our ability to attract young people and families, which significantly impacts the ability of our employers to find the employees they need to grow their businesses in New York state. In addition, the lack of affordable housing for our seniors deprives them of the ability to downsize when appropriate, leaving many of them in houses which are too large and too expensive for them to live in,” Mitchell Pally, CEO of the Long Island Builders’ Institute, said in a statement.

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 contributed to the increasing challenge New Yorkers face in finding affordable housing, according to the comptroller’s office.

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