HPD Announces Historically Low Rental Vacancy Rate

On February 8, 2024, the Department of Housing Preservation and Development announced the initial results of the latest New York City Housing and Vacancy Survey (NYCHVS). The survey is the official source of the net rental vacancy rate which is used to show the ongoing need for rent control and rent stabilization. The survey is run approximately every three years and done in partnership with the U.S. Census Bureau since 1965. It is the longest-running housing survey nationwide. 

The most recent survey showed an overall drop in New York City’s vacancy rate to 1.4 percent, which is the lowest the rate has been since the 1968 survey. Out of 2,357,000 total rental units citywide, only 33,210 units were available for rent. Apartments that went for less than $1,100 a month only had a vacancy rate of 0.39 percent; units with rents exceeding $2,400 had the highest vacancy rate at 3.39 percent. 

In the previous survey in 2021, the vacancy rate was 4.54 percent. This was in context of the COVID-19 pandemic, when many residents decided to leave New York City to be with family or find less dense and cheaper places to live given the widespread use of remote work. By borough, Manhattan and Queens saw the biggest drops in net rental vacancy rates; Manhattan dropped from 10.01 percent in 2021 to 2.33 percent in 2023, and Queens dropped from 4.48 percent in 2021 to 0.88 percent in 2023. 

In the time between the surveys, the available housing stock grew by approximately 60,000 units, but that supply still could not keep up with the demands of over 275,000 new households in the city. The number of units that were vacant but not available for rent also decreased by 35 percent over that two year period, indicating that more vacant units were going back on the market. 

More data will be released from the survey in the coming months. Per State law, the City Council is required to periodically review if there is an ongoing housing emergency, which is defined as a vacancy rate of less than five percent to maintain the rent stabilization laws. The results of this survey are used in making those decisions.

Mayor Eric Adams stated, “The data is clear: the demand to live in our city is far outpacing our ability to build housing. New Yorkers need our help, and they need it now. While our administration continues to create a record number of affordable homes and helps more New Yorkers move into these homes than the city ever has before, we need more tools to house our neighbors, protect tenants, and deliver the affordability New Yorkers deserve. I am calling on all levels of government to help us meet this moment and ensure New York City remains a viable home for working class New Yorkers.” 

HPD Commissioner Adolfo Carrión Jr. stated, “This latest survey result shines a spotlight on what we know as New Yorkers, more people want to live and work in the greatest city in the world but are struggling to find housing that makes that possible. In spite of our record-breaking year for housing production, the crisis continues to deepen. This clearly means we need to do more at all levels of government and in partnership with the private sector to address this growing crisis. Together we must act quickly and decisively to deliver more affordable homes to get us out of this crisis and keep New York City competitive and livable.”  

By: Veronica Rose (Veronica is the Editor of CityLand and a New York Law School graduate, Class of 2018.)




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