Most New York City residents earning the local combined median income of $70,663 are unable to afford market-rate rental housing, according to a new data report by StreetEasy.
Asking rents in March averaged $3,344, a new record, but roughly one in three citywide market-rate rental listings (37%) in the first quarter were affordable for a typical household earning the combined median income of $70,663 – during the same period in pre-pandemic 2019, roughly one in two rental listings (51%) were affordable to New Yorkers.
The city’s median income varies by demographics, but all these groups share common ground about being unable to access market-rate rental housing. The median White household income ($93,919) can only afford 64% of the city’s rental inventory, down from 75% in 2019, while those earning the median Black ($53,075) and Hispanic ($49,275) household income can afford only 14% and 10% of the market-rate rental inventory this year, respectively – down from 21% and 12% four years ago. And those earning the median Asian household income ($76,832) can only afford 47% of available inventory, a drop from 61% in 2019.
“We define ‘affordable’ homes as rentals that cost less than 50% of a household’s combined income, a commonly accepted threshold of ‘severe’ rent burden by federal and local housing agencies,” said StreetEasy Economist Kenny Lee. “NYC has traditionally been a tough market for all renters. Nearly one in three renters (32%) spent more than half of their income on rent in 2021, a slight increase from 30% in 2011 according to the NYC Housing Vacancy Survey.”