Typical NYC Household Spends 2/3 Of Income on Rent: Study

Somebody call Rent Is Too Damn High party founder Jimmy McMillan. 

A new report says the typical New York household will spend nearly two-thirds of their income on rent this year, with Brooklyn hit the hardest and Queens getting much worse.

Rent growth continues to outpace income growth in New York City and that means people are setting aside more and more of their earnings to pay for housing.

This year, the typical household that rents in the city are expected to spend 65.2 percent — or nearly two-thirds — of their income on rent. That’s up from 59.7 percent in 2015, according to a new report from online real estate marketplace StreetEasy.

New Yorkers in four of the five boroughs can expect to pay more in rent this year than last year, the State of New York City Rent Affordability Report shows.

Things are worst in Brooklyn, where the average household that rents will spend 65.4 percent of their income on rent this year.

The Bronx is the second most rent burdened borough, with residents there expected to spend 54.1 percent of their income on rent.

But it’s in Queens, the city’s third most rent-burdened borough, that renters are expected to see the greatest increase in the share of their income going towards rent in 2016.

In 2015, the average Queens renter set aside 43.5 percent of their income for rent. This year the share of their income rises to a whopping 51.6 percent. That’s an increase of 8.1 percent in one year.

Manhattan is right behind Queens among the five boroughs. Manhattanites’ median rent-to-income ratio is expected to be 49.1 percent this year.

Staten Island is the only affordable borough in the city for renters. The typical renter of the island will spend only 27.9 percent of their income on rent this year, the report said.

Overall, the median rent-to-income ratio for all of New York City will rise 5.5 percentage points in 2016, according to the report.

New Yorkers spent 59.7 percent of their income on rent in 2015 and will spend 65.2 percent of their income on rent this year.

The median rent forecast for the city this year is $3,054 and the median income forecast is $56,244. Someone earning around that amount this year will spend about $36,600 on rent.

Rent burdens vary widely by neighborhood too, the report says. Areas in East Brooklyn, Upper Manhattan and the South Bronx have some of the highest rent-to-income ratios.

In Manhattanville, in northern Manhattan, the rent-to-income ratio is 119.5 percent, that is the median rent in the area is far greater than the typical household’s total annual income.

Other rent burdened neighborhoods include Chinatown, Little Italy, Mott Haven, and North New York in the Bronx, which all have median rent-to-income ratios greater than 100 percent.

The city’s high occupancy rate is a big part of the high rent problem, but so is stumbling income growth.

“With a rental vacancy rate below 3.5 percent, the supply of rental housing across the city is extremely low, which places upward pressure on prices and even more competition among renters,” StreetEasy data scientist Alan Lightfeldt said in the report.

“But addressing the supply side is only half the battle,” Lightfeldt said.

“No other factor is more fundamental to the city’s growing rent burden than lagging income growth. Until income growth catches up with rent growth, the rent affordability problem will loom large on New York households.”

Go here to see the complete StreetEasy State of New York City Rent Affordability Report with additional analysis, neighborhood data and graphics. 

Contact Us