Photo: Robert Clark
Since 1970, the city’s housing supply has grown by less 20 percent while at the same time home prices and rents have grown substantially higher — and at a faster pace.
Adding insult to injury, much of the post-2000 housing stock is more expensive than older housing stock, pricing many New Yorkers out, according to a report published earlier this week by NYU’s Furman Center entitled “State of New York City’s Housing and Neighborhoods.”
The annual report provides extensive data and analysis about New York City’s housing, land use, demographics and quality of life for all five boroughs.
Between 1970 and 2016, the city’s housing stock grew by 19 percent. But when narrowing the timeline to 2000 to 2016, the city’s housing stock only increased 8 percent, or 260,000 units. Unsurprisingly, the majority of the New York City’s housing stock is renter-occupied versus owner-occupied. Some 61.1 percent of units are renter-occupied compared to 28.9 percent that are owner-occupied.
Manhattan’s Midtown/Chelsea neighborhood saw the most new units between 2000 and 2016, a little under 30,000 new units. Its unit count was double that of Brooklyn’s Williamsburg/Greenpoint area, which claimed the second position.
At the same time, the city’s population grew by 6.6 percent with the adult-only household population growing by 11 percent. New York City adult-only households made up nearly 71 percent of all households in 2016 compared to 66 percent in 2000.
According to the report, the growth in the number of adults is a better measure of the need for housing than overall population growth, because every household has an adult, but many households do not have a child.
The increase in adult-only households may be indicative of several things. First, adults’ preferences have changed and they want to live with roommates. Another possible explanation is that adults may not be able to afford to live on their own in New York City any longer “because rents or prices for units sized for a single adult or an adult couple are higher than they can afford.”
“This suggests that, as a growing number of adults are living in the city in adult-only households, the housing supply is not increasing enough to adequately moderate pressures on prices resulting from that rising demand,” the report states.
Also, an increase in city-wide employment since 2000 may also have affected the demand for housing. There were 4,346,000 jobs in New York City in 2016. That’s 16.5 percent more than it had in 2000.
However, an increase in employment doesn’t automatically signal increased pressure on housing since many NYC workers do choose to live elsewhere, like New Jersey or Westchester, and commute instead of residing in the five boroughs.
The authors of the report believe that this is also a sign that more households are looking for housing today, but unless supply increases, the pressure from the increased demand will continue to push rents and home prices up.
Another obvious indicator of whether a city has enough housing, of course, is the availability of housing that is affordable to all of its residents. New York City rents have risen at a faster rate than incomes since 2000. Between 2000 and 2016, the median rent rose by 31.2 percent while median renter income only grew by 3.6 percent.
The report concludes by saying that while data alone cannot definitively answer the question of whether the city has enough housing to meet demand, these measures suggest that more housing is needed. And, it is especially clear that more housing is needed for the nearly 70 percent of the city’s households who make moderate or lower incomes.
Click here to read the entire report.