Photo: JaysonPhotography/

This year, Queens residents will face the highest increase in median rent-to-income ratio, making it harder to find affordable rental units.

According to a study by StreetEasy, the median rent-to-income ratio in Queens increased from 43.5 percent to 51.6 percent between 2015 and 2016, meaning residents will have to spend more than half of their annual income on rent.

Overall, the study, titled The State of New York City Rent Affordability, found that renters in New York City will spend 65.2 percent of their income on rent in 2016, up from 59.7 percent in 2015.

Queens neighborhoods that saw some of the highest increases were Murray Hill, Long Island City and Jamaica.

Alarmingly, Queens also faces the highest disparity between rent price growth and income growth. The study found that rent price in the borough is expected to grow by 19.2 percent, while income is expected to grow just 0.4 percent.

Brooklyn continues to be the least affordable borough, with households spending 65.4 percent of their total annual income on median market-rate rent in 2016.

New York City residents are acutely aware of this increase. According to a survey conducted by WNYC Radio, the second-largest concern for residents behind the cost of living is the high cost of housing.

“With a rental vacancy rate below 3.5 percent, the supply of rental housing across the city is extremely low, which places upward pressure on prices and even more competition among renters,” said StreetEasy data scientist Alan Lightfeldt. “There’s policy momentum in place here, but addressing the supply side is only half the battle.”

Programs aimed at addressing slow income growth must be implemented in tandem with Mayor Bill de Blasio’s 10-year affordable housing plan, the study recommended. Only then will the median rent-to-income ratio be less burdensome for residents.

Chart courtesy of StreetEasy

Chart courtesy of StreetEasy


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