Most 2-bedroom apts. in NYC unaffordable to current residents

ST buildings

In the 10009 zip code, the average asking rent is $3,610.

By Sabina Mollot

New Yorkers looking to grow their families should take note: Two-bedroom apartments located in over half of the zip codes in this city are unaffordable based on what those areas’ current residents earn.

RentHop, an apartment listings website that often conducts studies on neighborhood trends (from dog poop offenses to where there are the most rat sightings) has concluded the lack of affordability based on current asking rents in each zip code.

The study, released in July, notes that affordability is based on whether a household earns 40 times the amount of what a month’s rent costs in their annual incomes, which would mean about 30 percent of the household’s income goes toward rent. Some landlords require tenants to earn this much before leasing to them.

Using this formula, of 52 percent of the zip codes looked into, median rents for two-bedroom apartments were not only unaffordable, but they exceeded half the household income, effectively rent-burdening the occupants.

The city’s average rent as of June for a two-bedroom was around $3,650, and this would require a $146,000 income to meet the 40X threshold. However, this is almost 2.5 times the median household income in the city, which is $58,856, based on the most recent census data.

Out of all the zip codes, Tribeca’s (10007) was the priciest, with asking rents of $5,498 for a two-bedroom. However, the household income average is also high at $236,560, making the rent a mere 28.1 percent of the income.

In Stuyvesant Town’s zip code (10009), also Alphabet City’s, the average asking rent is $3,610, so to comfortably afford this, a household would need to earn $144,400. Meanwhile, the actual median household income is just $60,788, which would mean paying 42.4 percent on rent.

In 10010, home to Peter Cooper Village, Flatiron, the north end of Gramercy and east tip of Kips Bay, the average two-bedroom is $3,890, making the income necessary to afford an apartment $155,600. The median household is actually $110,142, which would mean paying 71.3 percent on rent.

In the East Village and much of Gramercy (10003), the average two-bedroom is $3,900, affordable for those who earn $156,000. The median household income in the area, however, is $100,791, which would mean paying 46.4 percent on rent.

In Murray Hill (11345), asking rents are much lower at $2,300 for a two-bedroom, affordable for those who earn $92,000. However, the actual median income isn’t even half that amount at $43,660, which would mean paying 63.2 percent on rent.

The study does note, however, that the numbers are asking rents, not the average of what everyone is necessarily currently paying, so it’s possible plenty of people’s costs of living are affordable due to ownership, rent regulation or a competitive market rate rent.

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One thought on “Most 2-bedroom apts. in NYC unaffordable to current residents

  1. The issue of mass affordability should have been front and center 20 years ago. Instead, 20 years ago laws like vacancy increase allowances were passed by the city council under Democrats.

    For those living in STPCV paying affordable ‘legal’ rents, I’ve been telling folks just enjoy all the non-MCI improvements to the grounds. There’s little more to be done. The cat has been out of the bag for quite some time. And come 2020 when j-51 benefits expire we’ll see many neighbors decontrolled and forced to move.

    Among our 2016 council primary debates the subject of rent affordability really only came up once, at the Waterside Plaza debate. I said then and say now…without radical government intervention rent affordability will only apply to the well-heeled. What form that intervention can take is varied. More Mitchell-Lama projects are public-private initiatives with limited shelf lives. NYCHA housing for the middle class might offer interesting competition that would lower market prices. And of course right after WWII price controls were used.

    After several years of 4.25% yearly rent increases, my guess is that the affordability effort at Waterside for most is coming too late.

    Too little, too late. That’s mostly what we see from Democrats these days. Non-action with respect to the Small Business Jobs Survival Act is another example of the same.

    Either we get “too little, too late” from Democrats or laws like vacancy increase allowances which are downright injurious.

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