The vacancy rate in New York’s most expensive rentals plummeted to 3.4% last year, the lowest in nearly three decades.
The availability of rental properties costing more than US$2,400 per month (R$11,800) was around 13% in 2021, according to the city’s most recent housing survey, released on Thursday ( 8).
Previously, the availability of the city’s most expensive units — which have an asking rent above a threshold that has grown from $1,250 in 1993 to $2,400 in 2023 — had reached its lowest level in 1996, according to an analysis of research. of the city.
The decline in housing availability has been exacerbated by policies that discourage new housing construction and rising interest rates, which have led potential homebuyers to opt for renting.
The overall vacancy rate across all five city boroughs fell to 1.4% last year, the lowest since 1968, with the cheapest housing — apartments renting under $1,100 — being the hardest to find. , with a vacancy rate of just 0.4%.
New York considers a vacancy rate below 5% to be a housing emergency. The data also reflects a housing shortage in the city not seen since the 1960s.
Construction of new rental apartments has plummeted since the New York Legislature let a tax incentive for affordable housing construction, known as 421-a, expire in 2022 and did not replace it.
In January, Governor Kathy Hochul introduced a new proposal to encourage the construction of thousands of new affordable units, but it will require collaboration between tenant groups, real estate developers and organized unions.
“The data is clear: the demand for housing in our city is far beyond our ability to build housing,” New York City Mayor Eric Adams wrote in a statement about the research. “New Yorkers need our help and they need it now.”
The four rental categories used by the city’s survey roughly reflect the quartiles of occupied rental units in the city.
The biggest drop in the vacancy rate last year was among the city’s most expensive rentals, according to the survey, although the availability of these units was higher than cheaper ones.
More than 25% of the city’s renter-occupied units cost more than $2,400 per month, and nearly 50% of units in the Manhattan borough fall into this category.
In January, the average rent for an apartment in Manhattan was $5,044, while the median rent was $4,150, according to a report from consulting firm Miller Samuel and brokerage firm Douglas Elliman Real Estate. A two-bedroom apartment, for example, rented there for an average of $6,051 a month.
The number of Manhattan luxury listings has grown over the past five years, according to the Miller Samuel report. The median rent for these apartments has fallen 10% over the past year to $9,900 in January. That compares to $6,135 for luxury rentals in Northwest Queens.
New York’s mayor has proposed lifting zoning restrictions to allow the construction of 100,000 new homes over 15 years, although some housing advocates have raised concerns that this will not be enough to reduce housing costs and could further worsen gentrification.
Part of its plan would be to convert vacant offices into housing, but state approval will be needed to create a substantial amount of new housing through office-to-residential conversions.
“This housing ‘emergency’ has gone on for nearly 60 years without relief,” said Jay Martin, executive director of the Community Housing Improvement Program, in a statement.
“The real emergency is that policymakers have repeatedly failed to increase the housing supply that would help renters and end this manufactured shortage.”