Report: Queens is the place to live for middle-income New Yorkers

A new StreetEasy report revealed that Queens renters spend 36 percent of their annual income on rent.
By Naeisha Rose

A new report from StreetEasy found that Queens remains a haven for middle-income New Yorkers.

The “Earn more, pay less? Average Housing cost and incomes by NYC borough” report mapped how average housing costs in the city stack up against average income levels across the five boroughs. StreetEasy found that one in three New Yorkers finds the city unaffordable, yet relatively few perceive their own homes as unaffordable.

The report said one explanation for this anomaly could be that there is a disconnect between the homes listed on the market and what most people actually pay that fuels negative perceptions of the cost of living in New York.

The study used census data covering homes that are rent-controlled, rent-stabilized and rent-subsidized. It breaks out the cost of renting, the cost of owning, and income levels for homeowners and renters by borough to get an accurate picture of the financial outlook for New Yorkers earning the median household income.

Queens residents had the most to celebrate, according to StreetEasy. The report claims the costs of renting and owning in Queens are closest to the citywide medians of any borough, which StreetEasy said made good on Queens’ reputation as the place of choice for middle-class New Yorkers.

Renters in Queens spend an average of $16,812 on rent of their $45,549 annual income, compared to homeowners who spend an average of $29,256 on housing cost of their $80,144 annual income. The cost-to-income ratio for renters was 36 percent, while homeowners spent 37 percent of their annual income.

StreetEasy said the median renter in Queens earns slightly more than the citywide median income, but also faces slightly higher housing costs.

“Homeowners in Queens, however, are slightly less well off, typically earning less than the citywide median income for homeowners and also seeing slightly lower housing costs,” the report said. “The divergent costs of renting and owning in Queens are further corroborated by a recent StreetEasy market report that found rents falling across the borough as sales prices hit an all-time high.”

The study went on to show that on average, Brooklyn renters and buyers earn less than the New York City median income. For homeowners, Brooklyn has the highest housing cost-to-income burden, with 38 percent. The income burden for renters is also high, with renters in Brooklyn earning an average of $20,000 less than those in Manhattan. Compared to Manhattanites, homeowners in Brooklyn earn an average of nearly $60,000 less per year.

StreetEasy said Bronx residents fared the worst, with renters and owners earning the least of any borough. Despite facing the lowest housing costs, residents are significantly burdened. The Bronx has the highest median-rent-to-income ratio in all of New York City, meaning that the average renter earned $29,302 and spend $13,176 — 45 percent of their annual income — in rent.

Reach Gina Martinez by e-mail at gmartinez@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4566.

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