Rents Are Really Out of Control, No, Seriously: Comptroller’s Report


Yet more confirmation that rents are out of control comes in a new report from city Comptroller John Liu, which notes that 30 percent of New Yorkers are spending more than half their income on rent. Half of New Yorkers are paying “unaffordable rents,” defined by the feds as 30 percent or more of income.

Meanwhile, Liu claims that the Bloomberg administration’s “affordable housing” plan only delivered one-third of the number of units for middle-income earners that was promised. He says the middle class feels this burden far more than lower-income folks.

The city’s median income of just over $50,000 a year has remained basically unchanged since 2000, but the median rent skyrocketed by about 25 percent from $853 a month to $1,004. And the situation is substantially worse here than in the rest of the country.

While the percentage of wealthy and poor households that spend more than 30 percent of income on rent in New York City basically matches the nationwide figure, 38 percent of middle-income earners here fall in that category compared to 26 percent elsewhere.

The effect, Liu asserted, will be to continue to drive middle-income folks from the city, leaving it to the very wealthy and the very poor.

Middle-income earners, defined here as people who make $35,000 to $75,000, get hit harder here than anywhere else in the country. In Manhattan, 45 of middle-income earners are paying unaffordable rents, Liu’s report says.

We are awaiting a comment from the mayor’s office.

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