Make Under $40K? No Apartments To Rent In Harlem

April 24, 2014

real estate in harlemGreat story from Gothamist about unaffordable rents. Sure, plenty of people think they can survive Harlem, New York on the delicate wings of a dream and a freelance paycheck, but if you’re planning to, say, find fancy shelter with four walls and a roof, you may be out of luck. Or so says a dire new housing report out of Comptroller Stringer’s office, which notes that skyrocketing rents in all five boroughs have contributed to a serious dearth of affording housing—so much so that households earning under $40K per year “literally may not be able to find an apartment they can afford.” This Norwegian uninhabited subantarctic volcanic island sounds nice, though.

New York City rose by 75 percent from 2000 to 2012

According to the report, the median rent in New York City rose by 75 percent from 2000 to 2012, but thanks to two recessions, incomes actually declined during that period. Newly hip neighborhoods like Williamsburg, Greenpoint, Fort Greene and Bushwick saw average rent increases of over 50 percent, which is probably not that shocking—Williamsburg and Greenpoint saw their average rents go from $737/month in 2000 to $1,297/month in 2012.

East Harlem saw an increase in average from $658 to $952 … saw a monthly hike from $491 to $689.

But the rent increases go beyond the newly Urban Outfitter-ed. According to the report, in Sunnyside and Woodside in Queens, average rents went from $943/month to $1,323/month; East Harlem saw an increase in average from $658 to $952, and Mott Haven/Hunts Point in The Bronx saw a monthly hike from $491 to $689. Only a few neighborhoods—the Upper East Side, Coney Island and Mid Island on Staten Island—saw a rent increase of under 10 percent, and not one neighborhood saw a decrease in rents.

More frustratingly, median incomes have actually decreased by about five percent since 2000, and the city lost about 400,000 apartments with rents under $1,000 in that 12 year period, which doesn’t bode well for anyone who needs lower-income housing. The report notes that in 2012, New York households earning between $20K and $40K spent 44 percent of their monthly income on rent, adding, “Although most New Yorkers probably feel that housing in the city is too expensive, it is primarily those earning under $40,000 who literally may not be able to find an apartment they can afford.”

Now, Stringer’s pushing Mayor de Blasio to act on his campaign promise to provide New Yorkers with more affordable housing, outlining the need to funnel more money into public housing programs, and pushing the mayor to create more affordable units for those who earn under $40K (for a more in-depth look at rent control and low-cost housing, click here). De Blasio reportedly plans to add or preserve 200,000 units of affordable housing over the next decade, but we’ll believe it when we see it.

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