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NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development
Press Room

Mayor's Office Press Release #41-03


February 7, 2003

Press Contacts:
Ed Skyler / Jennifer Falk (212) 788-2958
Carol Abrams (HPD) (212) 863-5176


Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Housing Preservation and Development (HPD)Commissioner Jerilyn Perine today released the initial results of the 2002 NewYork City Housing and Vacancy Survey (HVS). The 2002 HVS reports that the numberof vacant rental units in New York City was 61,265 and the citywide rental vacancyrate was 2.94 percent during the period between February and June 2002. Therental vacancy rate is significantly lower than the 5 percent threshold mandatedby state law to justify the continuation of rent control and rent stabilization.

The survey also reports that the City's total inventory of residential unitswas 3.2 million, the largest housing stock since the first HVS was conductedin 1965. The 2002 HVS also reports that housing conditions, and particularlybuilding conditions, in the City were the best since the HVS started coveringthem. The survey is conducted by the U.S. Bureau of the Census at the requestof the City of New York every three years.

"The 2002 survey shows that the City has improved housing conditions," saidMayor Bloomberg. "Twenty years ago, few people viewing the devastated neighborhoodsof Harlem, the South Bronx, and Central Brooklyn could imagine the renaissancethese neighborhoods have experienced. Today, with help from the City government,the neighborhoods have been revitalized and the communities renewed. However,we still face the problems of a serious housing shortage, affordability, andcrowding because the City is a desirable place to live.

"In order to address these problems, I announced a housing plan to increasenew housing production throughout the City which includes preserving the existingaffordable housing units. Specifically, let me be clear that I support the rentregulation laws as they exist today."

"The Mayor's $3 billion housing plan, The New Housing Marketplace: CreatingHousing for the Next Generation, will create and preserve more than 65,000 homesand apartments in the City's neighborhoods in the next five years," CommissionerPerine said. "The Mayor's vision for Lower Manhattan includes another 10,000units of housing."

Viewed at its most basic, the survey is a report required every three yearsby State and City rent regulation laws and is designed to determine New YorkCity's overall vacancy rate for rental housing. Considered more broadly, itis the most comprehensive housing market survey conducted in any city in theUnited States. The 2002 HVS is the first survey following the decennial census.

Before the end of the year, we expect the Census Bureau to revise prior HVSdata that will be comparable with 2002 HVS data so that we may analyze trendsand changes in New York City's housing market over the last three decades.

The comprehensive final report on the 2002 Housing and Vacancy Survey willbe released early next year by HPD, the department that commissioned the surveyon behalf of the City of New York.

Initial findings of the survey indicate that:

  • The number of housing units in New York City was 3,209,000 in 2002, thelargest housing stock since the first HVS was conducted in 1965. Since thefirst HVS, the Census Bureau has excluded housing units in special placessuch as institutions, group quarters, dormitories, and commercial hotels.

  • The number of rental units was 2,085,000.

  • The homeownership rate for the City as a whole was 32.7 percent in 2002-thatis, one in three households in the City was an owner household.

  • In 2002, the number of vacant units available for rent was 61,000, whilethe number of vacant units available for sale was 15,000.

  • The 2002 HVS reports a citywide rental vacancy rate of 2.94 percent duringthe period between February and June of 2002. This 2002 rental vacancy rateis significantly lower than the 5 percent threshold mandated by state lawto justify the continuation of rent control and rent stabilization.

  • In 2002, in Manhattan the rental vacancy rate was 3.86 percent, the highestof the five boroughs, while in Queens it was only 1.78 percent, the lowest.The vacancy rate in the Bronx was 3.29 percent, while it was 2.73 percentin Brooklyn in 2002. There were too few vacant rental units in Staten Islandto report.

  • Vacant units available for low rents were extremely scarce. The rentalvacancy rate in 2002 for units with asking rents of less than $700 was lowerthan 2.00 percent. The rate was 1.54 percent for units with asking rentsof less than $500 and 1.42 percent for units with asking rents between $500and $699.

  • Starting with asking rents in the $700-$799 range, the availability ofvacant rental units increases steadily. The vacancy rate for units withasking rents of $700-$799 was 2.61 percent; the rate for units with an askingrent level of $800-$999 was 3.66 percent. The vacancy rate moves up closeto 5.00 percent as asking rent levels go further up: it was 4.36 percentfor units with an asking rent level of $1,000-$1,749.

  • The vacancy rate for units with asking rents of $1,750 or more climbedsharply to 9.25 percent. The rate for units with asking rents of $2,000or more inched up further to 10.05 percent, the highest among vacancy ratesfor all the various rent levels.

  • The median annual income for all households (renters and owners combined)was $39,000 in 2001. The median annual income of renter households was $31,000while the median annual income of homeowners was $60,000.

  • The proportion of renter households with incomes below the poverty levelin 2001 was 22.5 percent.

  • In 2002, the median monthly gross rent (which includes utility payments)was $788, while the median monthly contract rent (which excludes tenantpayments for utilities) was $706.

  • One in four rental units in the City had a gross rent of less than $600in 2002, and a little more than one in ten had a gross rent of less than$400. At the same time, the gross rent of almost half the rental units inthe City was in the $600-$999 range. The gross rent of one in ten rentalunits was $1,500 or more in 2002.

  • In 2002, the median gross rent-income ratio was 28.6 percent-that is,half of renters paid close to 30 percent of their household income for grossrent (rent and utilities payments).

  • More than a quarter of renter households in the City (25.5 percent) paidmore than 50 percent of their household's income for gross rent in 2002.

  • The crowding situation in the City remained serious in 2002. The proportionof renter households that were crowded (more than one person per room) was11.1 percent.

  • In 2002, housing conditions in the City were the best since the HVS startedcovering them. Almost all housing units in the City were in structurallygood buildings. Of all occupied units, 0.5 percent were in dilapidated buildingsin 2002. The 2002 dilapidation rate was the lowest in the 37-year periodsince 1965.

  • Neighborhood quality also remained very good. The proportion of renterhouseholds near buildings with broken or boarded-up windows on the streetwas 8.7 percent in 2002.

  • The proportion of renter households that rated the quality of their neighborhoodresidential structures as "good" or "excellent" was 69.0 percent in 2002.

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