In Spite of All Those Rent Hikes, Income in Brooklyn is Actually Dropping

Incomes in Brooklyn are actually dropping
Probably not the ones buying the condos. (Image via Flickr/TorbakHopper)

Along with yet another update on how much Brooklyn rents have spiked in recent years77 percent between 2000 and 2012, jesus!—a new report from City Comptroller Scott Stringer indicates something a little more surprising, that amid all this real estate scrambling, New York’s median incomes have actually dropped over the same period of time, going down by 4.8 percent. “Rents are going through the roof, incomes are going down, and that’s where you’re having the ­affordability crunch,” Stringer said of the numbers. It’s, all, um, very promising.

It’s also part of a larger national trend, albeit a far more exaggerated version; across the country, rents went up by 50.1 percent over the same time period. Brooklyn’s growth (and disparity), unsurprisingly, has been the most exaggerated of any borough, with rents going up by 65 percent in Manhattan, 63 percent in Staten Island, and Queens at 55 percent. “New York City as a whole has been ‘gentrifying,’ but at a rate much slower than commonly perceived. Gentrification of the city’s household distribution was an unlikely cause of rent inflation citywide during the Bloomberg era.”

The proposed solution, then, is an emphasis on affordable housing for residents earning under $40,000 per year, and as it happens, Mayor de Blasio is already scheduled to announce a plan to create 200,000 affordable housing units on May 1st. The report also notes, “Although most New Yorkers probably feel that housing in the city is too expensive, it is primarily those earning under $40,000 who literally may not be able to find an apartment they can afford.” So, this is what a boom looks like in 2014.

Follow Virginia K. Smith on Twitter @vksmith.


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