- Housing is a key area of inequity in New York City, where more than 1 million residents spend more than half of their income on rent, according to a new study by the City of New York Institute for State and Local Governance that notes disparity among groups including minorities, individuals with disabilities, immigrants and the LGBTQ community.
Hispanic (30.1%), Asian (29.7%) and black (27.8%) renters in the city were more likely than white renters (22.7%) to spend more than half of their household income on rent. Meanwhile, Hispanics there are least likely to own a home (15%), followed by blacks (32.7%), Asians (41%) and whites (43.3%), the study noted.
Home purchase loan applications by blacks were denied more often (16.7%) than were those by whites (12.3%), despite whites averaging five times more applications, Curbed noted. Meanwhile, LGBTQ households posted homeownership rates of 31% compared to 41% for heterosexual households.
Rising rental and home prices have made housing affordability a continued challenge for New York residents and agencies looking to increase the residential stock there with low- to middle-income individuals in mind.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has made the affordability of housing a central part of his administration, aiming to provide 200,000 new or existing affordable housing units over the next 10 years. The administration is looking at mandatory inclusionary housing programs and this month announced a deal to revive a tax break requiring developers to earmark 20% of a project’s units for low- to moderate-income tenants.
Other cities are also responding to headwinds in the affordable housing market, sparking new housing programs. San Francisco recently implemented requirements for builders of the city's residential developments to include 25% affordable units, up from 12% previously, and voters in Portland, OR, this week approved a $258.4 million bond that will fund construction of 1,300 affordable units.
However, as the CUNY report noted, these initiatives do not completely address the needs of those facing the full brunt of the rent burden. Instead, the policies should look beyond making renting less affordable to improving homeownership rates and targeting "very low-income" individuals for whom homeownership is a currently a further reach.
A report last month from the Urban Institute highlighted the potential for Hispanic homebuyers, in particular. Expected to make up more than half of household formations from 2020 to 2030, fewer than half of Hispanic households owned their homes in 2013 compared to 71% of whites. Access to credit and tight inventory making it difficult for younger buyers to enter the market will pose a challenge for this group, which has a median age of 28 compared to 42 for whites.
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