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A new analysis shows that Queens County residents spend more than half of their income on housing costs, which ranks fourth in New York.
By Carlotta Mohamed

Owning a home can be quite expensive in New York City.

A new analysis revealed that Queens ranked as the fourth highest county in New York where residents spent half of their income on housing costs.

Gavop, a real estate, housing, and local data analytics service, used data from the U.S. Census Bureau to produce a study on homeowners’ costs as a percentage of income, according to Kevin Pryor, Gavop analyst. It analyzed real estate trends at the county level across the United States and found that Queens County had a median income of $62,207 and a median housing cost of $29,136 per year for homeowners with a mortgage.

In the study, housing costs include homeowner expenses such as the sum of mortgage payments, real estate taxes, insurance, and utilities.

“We looked at annual housing costs as a percentage to gauge how much debt people owe to their living situation based on location,” said Pryor. “Here, the numbers show that Queens residents paid a high median percentage of income on housing costs, resulting in a large debt to homeownership in the area.”

Pryor said for Queens “it was abnormally high for New York.” The percentage was 46.8 percent, where residents spent half of their income on mortgage payments, including utilities and maintenance.

Queens County’s median housing cost in relation to income is much larger than New York state’s rate of 39.5 percent and the national level of 31 percent.

According to the study, four of the top five counties that have a large housing cost are in New York City. The Bronx had the highest values in the state where homeowners pay 78 percent of their income followed by Kings County (59.0 percent); New York County – Manhattan (49.1 percent); Queens (46.8 percent); and Westchester at 43.6 percent.

The counties with a lower percentage was located in upstate New York.

Wayne County had the lowest value at 24.2 percent; St. Lawrence County (24.3 percent); Cattaraugus County (25.1 percent); Clinton County (25.3 percent); and Cayuga County (25.5 percent).

Based on the study, California (38.8 percent) ranked as the highest state, with New York (39.5 percent) placing second, and New Jersey (36.9 percent) in third. Overall, the lowest ranked state in the U.S. was Indiana with 24.5 percent.

According to Gavop, areas like Queens that have high housing costs are more likely to be impacted by “macroeconomic strains on the economy such as recessions or unemployment.” Residents who pay a higher percentage of income on living expenses, like mortgages, have less money left over for other expenses, and to put back into the economy.

In comparison to areas with a low percentage of income spent on housing, there is lower economic pressure.

“When housing costs are low, people are better equipped to withstand factors like a rise or fall in unemployment or fluctuations in the housing market,” Gavop said. Homeowners are less likely to go into foreclosures and are less likely to experience financial issues when compared to homeowners who spend a large sum of money on their homes each year.

Pryor said this is Gavop’s first study and he looks forward to conducting another study next year collecting new data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Reach reporter Carlotta Mohamed by e-mail at cmohamed@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4526.

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