Two art districts in Queens rank in report among the top 10 most affordable in the nation – but are they?

City to add more bus lanes in Jamaica

A real estate organization is calling into question the affordability of cultural districts after they found that residents of arts districts pay 176 percent more on average than people who live in other parts of their city — making arts districts largely unaffordable for artists themselves.

But the rent-to-income ratio for creative types on a budget is relatively sweeter in two sections of Queens, ranking among the top districts in the nation for affordability in relation to the income of the average artist, Yardi Matrix claimed in its sister publication RentCafe.

The Kaufman Arts District in Astoria and Downtown Jamaica will both cost an artist making $81,510 per year less than 30 percent of their income with the former falling into place at 29 percent and the latter taking about 27 percent of an artist’s income.

The data compiled from U.S. Department of Labor statistics pertains to those living in apartment complexes with more than 50 units within a half-mile radius of the center of an art district.

But the wider scope of the study found that if an artist is living in a cultural district, they may be paying an average of around $382 more on a monthly basis than any other part of the city where they could be living, a 176 percent increase above normal rates.

Yardi Matrix claims that art districts have become so popular over the years that they in fact have grown too expensive for artists themselves, with Houston’s Museum District making up one of the most prominent examples of this at 176 percent of the citywide average and Seattle’s Capitol Hill arts district costing the least amount at only a 2 percent rent-to-income ratio.

According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, a household that qualifies at “rent-burdened” is one which sends over 30 percent of income to the landlord, making most cultural districts no country for starving artists.

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