No One Can Afford to Live Here

March 11, 2014 | Andy Cush

According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development , you can afford to live somewhere when the rent is 30 percent or less of your income. That is, if you make $40,000 a year and your rent is more than $1000, you can’t afford your apartment.

As you might imagine, there are lots of people in New York whose homes don’t meet this affordability standard. In the Bronx, 57.6% of renting households paid above the affordability line in 2012, and in Brooklyn, 46% pay above, according to a new report. More surprising is that Manhattan is the city’s most affordable borough relative to income, with only 44% paying above the threshold. That’s not to say that rents are cheap on the island, however; people just make more money there.

“Regardless of where they live, more New Yorkers are feeling pinched by rising housing costs,” said state comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, whose office commissioned the report. “When half your income goes to pay for a place to live, you are going to be stretched thin on other everyday purchases.”

Our friend Jimmy puts it more succinctly.