NYC faces an ‘affordability crisis’ in housing, says commissioner of Department of Housing Preservation and Development

New York City residents are still struggling to find homes despite the city having the largest housing stock in its history, according to a report to be released Monday.

The Department of Housing Preservation and Development’s triannual housing vacancy survey found that the net vacancy rate in the five boroughs was 3.63 percent between January and May in 2017.

Although that rate is slightly higher than the 3.45 percent recorded in 2014 — the last time the survey was conducted — HPD Commissioner Maria Torres-Springer said the number is concerning, particularly because 69,000 new housing units were built during that period. There are approximately 3.4 million housing units total in the city.

“As we continue to make progress, this report underlines the stubborn fact that we continue to face an affordability crisis,” she said in a statement.

The report, which has been issued since 1965, provides a wide shot of the city’s real estate environment, and is used as a basis to reaffirm rent regulation laws. The survey found that median asking rent jumped from $1,400 in 2014 to $1,875 three years later, a roughly 33 percent increase.

Between 2013 and 2016, median incomes for renters rose about 13.7 percent from $41,500 to $47,200, the report said. The amount of income spent on rent has remained relatively flat over the last three years as the rent to income ratio was 31.3 percent in 2017; about 0.1 percentage point greater than in 2014.

Torres-Stringer said the data should push the city to extend the rent regulation laws and implored the State Legislature to strengthen them.

City Council Speaker Corey Johnson said he will sponsor city legislation next month that will extend the laws and target elements that allow developers to build fewer rent-regulated apartments in exchange for the same tax breaks.

“I look forward to working with the administration and the State Legislature to close those loopholes that have resulted in the loss of affordable housing,” he said in a statement.

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