Millions of New Yorkers pay dearly to keep a roof over their heads, which hurts them in many ways.
That’s the warning of state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli in a new report released this month.
The report, “Housing Affordability in New York State,” said many pay half or more of their income for housing. That affects both homeowners and renters, DiNapoli wrote.
New York, DiNapoli wrote, is the “third-highest among states in the nation for both the percentage of renters, 26.6 percent, or 900,000 households, and homeowners, 12.4 percent or 500,000 households, deemed to be severely burdened by housing costs that consumed half or more of their income.”
Housing, the comptroller added, is considered affordable when it costs less than 30 percent of household income.
DiNapoli warned that “unaffordable housing undermines New Yorkers’ living standards and quality of life, and damages the state’s economic health.”
A New York City official echoed that sentiment.
“The rising cost of rent continues to outpace income growth, throwing New York City households into financial distress,” wrote city Comptroller Scott Stringer in his recent “Affordability Index” report.
DiNapoli said the problem affects both renters and owners. Tenants facing the greatest problem include those in Queens, Nassau County, The Bronx and Suffolk and Rockland counties, among others. Rockland County had the highest percentage of high rents at 59.4 percent, the report said.
DiNapoli called for more government-sponsored affordable housing programs.
Stringer wrote the “lack of affordable housing and the soaring cost of everything from child care to basic everyday necessities have ravaged New Yorkers’ bank accounts, and now these pressures are pushing people out.”
DiNapoli didn’t mention rent controls laws in his report, although Stringer spokeswoman Hazel Crampton-Hays emphasized that “he [Stringer] is committed to extending the protections of rent controls.”
While there is debate over how to solve the problem, few disagree there is a housing crisis.
An official of a builder’s organization said he was “unsurprised” by New York’s high housing costs.
“New York State is the most overtaxed and overregulated state in the country,” said Lewis Dubuque, executive vice president of the New York State Builders Association.
He said “property taxes, environmental and labor regulations only exacerbate the nationwide skyrocketing construction costs and labor costs.”
Pace University professor of economics Joseph Salerno agreed that a “plethora of regulations” cause New York housing shortages.
“A study has shown that from the mid-1980s to the early 2000s, the average price per square foot of housing was approximately twice the average cost of building an extra foot of housing in New York, due mainly to regulatory regulations,” he said.