Rental Vacancy Rate Has Remained Less
than the Five Percent Threshold Necessaryto Keep Rent Regulation Protections
Intact for New York City
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Deputy
Mayor for Economic Development Robert C. Lieber and Department of Housing
Preservation and Development (HPD) Acting Commissioner Marc Jahr today released
the initial results of the 2008 New York City Housing and Vacancy Survey. The
2008 survey, which reveals a synopsis of the City’s housing market between
February and June 2008, found that the citywide net rental vacancy rate was 2.88
percent, down from 3.09 percent in 2005. The City’s total housing stock rose to
more than 3.33 million units – the largest in the 43-year period since the first
survey was conducted in 1965 – and all five boroughs saw an increase in housing.
New Yorkers’ satisfaction with their neighborhoods and overall building
conditions reached their highest ever levels since they were first measured, 30
years ago and 43 years ago, respectively. The survey, conducted every three
years, is required by State and City rent-regulation laws to determine New York City’s overall
vacancy rate for rental housing. A rental vacancy rate below five percent
triggers the declaration of a “housing emergency,” which is necessary for the
continuation of rent regulation protections for New York City residents. Every survey since the
first one in 1965 has found the rental vacancy rate to be below five
City’s housing stock grew more in the past three years
than at any point since the City began conducting this survey more than forty
years ago,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “As a result, we have more housing to meet the
demand of our growing population than ever before. At the same time, the fact
that New York
City’s rental vacancy rate remains below five percent
shows the pressure on our housing market and it will trigger the continuation of
the City’s rent protections. The survey also indicates that New Yorkers are
reporting the highest levels of satisfaction with their neighborhoods and
buildings, the latest example that the investments we are making in all five
boroughs continue to pay off.”
“The Housing and Vacancy Survey
gives us a snapshot of housing availability, affordability and condition,” said
Acting HPD Commissioner Jahr. “It is extremely gratifying to know that the New
Housing Marketplace Plan has played an important role in contributing to the
largest number of housing units on record. The fact that every borough shared in
the growth is noteworthy, as is the report that neighborhood conditions and the
quality of our housing stock in general is at an all-time high. The Mayor and
the City Council, along with our for-profit and non-profit partners, are to be
commended for their commitment to quality and affordable housing.”
The survey is conducted by the U.S.
Census Bureau at the request of the City of New York every three years. It draws its sample
of roughly 18,000 housing units from the 2000 decennial census conducted by the
U.S. Census Bureau and updated by HPD to include new construction, renovation
and conversion. Interviews for the survey were conducted between February and
The 2008 survey shows that between
2005 and 2008 the City’s total inventory of residential units increased by
nearly 68,000 to 3.33 million. Within that period, more than 13,000
income-targeted rental units – equivalent to nearly 20 percent of the net
increase – were produced through the City’s $7.5 billion New Housing Marketplace
Plan. The City started construction on thousands of new units that are not
reflected in this report. While the survey shows that the number of rent
stabilized units fell by nearly 16,838, under the New Housing Marketplace Plan,
the City started construction or renovation of 46,196 affordable units (16,869
homeownership units and 29,327 rental units), most of which will fall under rent
regulation once completed.
Residents reported the highest
levels of neighborhood satisfaction, neighborhood conditions and building
conditions since such measurements have been taken. The proportion of renter
households near buildings with broken or boarded-up windows on the same street
fell to 5.1 percent in 2008 from 6.3 percent in 2005 and 8.6 percent in 2002.
Nearly 72 percent of renter households rated the quality of their neighborhood
buildings as “good” or “excellent.”
Initial findings of the survey indicate that:
- The vacancy rate for units available for rent in the
City during the period between February and June of 2008 was 2.88 percent,
down from 3.09 percent during the same period in 2005. The 2008 rental vacancy
rate is lower than 5.0 percent and, thus, meets the legal threshold mandated
by State and City laws to justify the continuation of rent control and rent
- The number of housing units in New York City was 3.33
million in 2008, the largest housing stock in the 43-year period since the
first survey was conducted in 1965. Between 2005 and 2008, the housing
inventory increased by 68,000 units or 2.1 percent, the largest increase since
the survey was initiated.
- Every borough saw an increase in
housing inventory: The Bronx grew by 11,000 units (2.1 percent); Brooklyn by
18,000 units (1.9 percent); Manhattan by 24,000
units (2.9 percent); Queens by 11,000 units (1.3 percent); and Staten Island by 5,000 units (2.7
Neighborhood and Housing
- Neighborhood conditions were the best in the 30-year
period since the survey began to address this issue. The proportion of renter
households near buildings with broken or boarded-up windows on the same street
fell to 5.1 percent in 2008 from 6.3 percent in 2005 and 8.7 percent in 2002.
- Neighborhood satisfaction was the best in the 30-year
period since the survey began measuring perceptions of neighborhood quality in
1978. In the survey, 71.8 percent of renter households rated the quality of
their neighborhood buildings as “good” or “excellent,” up from 63.1 percent in
1987 and 56.2 percent and in 1978.
- In 2008, building conditions remained among the best
since the survey started covering them. For all occupied units, the
dilapidation rate was 0.5 percent, remaining at an all-time low since the
survey began in 1965. The dilapidation rate for rental units was 0.6 percent
in 2008, still the best ever recorded.
- The proportion of renter-occupied
units with five or more of the seven maintenance deficiencies measured by the
2008 Survey was 4.4, one of the lowest ever recorded since these conditions
were first measured in 1991.
Rental and Ownership
- The number of rent controlled units remained
relatively stable from 2005 to 2008, from 43,000 in 2005 to 40,000 in 2008.
During the same period, the number of rent stabilized units in buildings
constructed before 1947 fell by 22,000, or 2.9 percent. This loss was offset
by an increase of 5,000 units in buildings constructed after 1947, for a net
loss in rent stabilized units of 17,000 or 1.6 percent.
- The number of owner units, occupied and vacant, was
1,046,000, up by 14,000 between 2005 and 2008.
- The homeownership rate for the
City as a whole was 32.9 percent in 2008 – that is, one in three households in
the City was an owner household. In 2005 the homeownership rate was 33.3
Income and Rent
- The median income for all households was $45,000 in
2007, a 12.5 percent increase over the $40,000 median income in 2004. In 2007
dollars, the 2004 median income was $44,300, making the real percentage of
change 1.6 percent. (The survey incorporates data on housing conditions from
2008 but data on income from 2007.)
- The median income of homeowners was $70,000 in 2007,
up from $65,000 in 2004. In 2007 dollars, the homeowners’ median income
actually declined by 2.8 percent.
- The median income of renter households in 2007 was
$36,000, an increase of 12.5 percent for 2004. Real income rose by 1.4 percent
in the three years.
- Median gross rents, which include the cost of fuel
and utilities, increased by 4.2 percent in real dollars between 2005 and 2008.
Contract rents – the amount people agree to pay monthly – increased by 1.6
percent in real dollars during the same period, keeping pace with the increase
- The median gross rent/income ratio increased from
28.6 percent in 2002 to 31.2 percent in 2005 and holds at 31.5 in 2008.
- In 2008, the number of people
applying more than 50 percent of their income for rent showed little or no
change. Of all renter households in the City, 29.4 percent paid more than 50
percent of their income for gross rent. In 2005, the total was 28.8 percent.
Those paying more than 50 percent of their income for contract rent showed no
change, holding steady at 25.8 percent.
Full details of the 2008 Housing and
Vacancy Survey initial findings are available on HPD’s website at www.nyc.gov/hpd. The comprehensive final report on
the 2008 survey will be released in 2010 by HPD, which commissioned the
independent survey on behalf of the City of New York.