NEW YORK CITY—According to a new study by NYU and Capital One onrent affordability trends from 2000 to 2012, the rent really is toodamn high. More than one million households in New York City are“rent-burdened”—meaning they are paying 30% or more of householdincome on rent, and nearly 600,000 of those households are severelyrent-burdened, or paying more than 50% of their income onrent—according to the newly released “NYU Furman Center/Capital OneAffordable Rental Housing Landscape.”

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Since 2000, the percentage of renters paying large shares oftheir income on rents has grown. While median rent in New York Cityrose by 11% from 2005 to 2012, median household income of rentersrose only 2%. By 2012, a majority of renter households wererent-burdened, and nearly a third of them were severelyrent-burdened.

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“The lack of affordable housing is a complex issue that isdriven by multiple factors, including stagnant incomes, increasingdemand for rental housing, and slow growth in the supply ofaffordable rental housing,” says Max Weselcouch, director of theNYU Furman Center's Moelis Institute for Affordable HousingPolicy.

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According to commonly accepted housing guidelines, “affordable”rent should not exceed 30% of a household's income. This means thata very low-income three-person household (making $37,350 a year orless in 2012 according to U.S. Department of Housing and UrbanDevelopment guidelines) should pay no more than $934 a month inrent and utilities to avoid being rent burdened. However, only 16percent of recently available units in 2012 rented for less than$934 a month. In 2000, there was approximately one household underthe very low-income threshold for every one unit of affordablehousing. By 2012, there were three households under the verylow-income threshold for every two rental units affordable tothem.

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“We know there is a great demand for, but short supply of,affordable housing. Essential members of our community, includingteachers, police officers, nurses and firefighters, continue to bepriced out of the city,” says Laura Bailey, managing VP, communitydevelopment finance, Capital One, an affordable housing lender.“That's why we continue to work with local housing developers tohelp expand access to quality, safe, affordable rental housing formore New Yorkers.

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It's worth noting that, over the course of the study, rents rosein four out of five boroughs. Manhattan experienced the greatestincrease (19%) and Staten Island was the only borough to see rentsfall (-3%). The median rent in Queens rose 8%; the Bronx, 10%; andBrooklyn, 12%. The increasing rents in Manhattan outpaced thecity-wide increase in rent, rising nearly twice as fast as inQueens, the Bronx and Brooklyn.

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From 2007-2012, the number of rent-burdened households in NewYork City increased by 125,000. This includes almost 90,000households who paid half or more of their monthly income on rent in2012. And the increase in the share of residents who arerent-burdened has been driven almost entirely by moderate- andmiddle-income households (among three-person households in 2012,those who earned more than $59,800 and up to $149,400 peryear).

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Equally troubling, of the rental housing units affordable to avery low-income three-person household in 2012, almost 30% of themwere occupied by households with higher incomes.

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The complete Affordable Rental Housing Landscape and additionalinformation are available online here andhere.

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Rayna Katz

Rayna Katz is a seasoned business journalist whose extensive experience includes coverage of the lodging sector, travel and the culinary space. She was most recently content director for a business-to-business publisher, overseeing four publications. While at Meeting News, a travel trade publication, she received a Best Reporting award for a story on meeting cancellations in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina.