Housing Vacancy Survey

About the New York City Housing Vacancy Survey

Beginning in 1965 and in order to fulfill its responsibilities under various rent control and rent stabilization laws, New York City has regularly retained the U.S. Census Bureau to conduct a comprehensive survey of the New York City housing market. The resulting "Housing and Vacancy Survey" (HVS) is an invaluable source of information about the state of the City's housing stock, residential population, and other housing-related issues and trends. To prepare the Housing and Vacancy Survey," the U.S. Census Bureau conducts household interviews of a sample of some 18,000 housing units in New York City.

The 1996 Housing Vacancy Survey

On February 20, the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) released a summary of the initial findings of the 1996 New York City Housing and Vacancy Survey, or HVS.

1996 Tables

Some of the important findings of the 1996 HVS include:





The 1993 Housing Vacancy Survey

"Housing New York City 1993" is the eleventh in a series of reports that interprets HVS data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau. The Report was commissioned by the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) and was written by economist Anthony J. Blackburn, with the technical support of HPD staff led by Dr. Moon Wha Lee. In addition to fulfilling legal requirements, which include estimating the vacancy rate for rental housing, reporting on the supply and condition of housing, and documenting the need for continuing the control and regulation of residential rents in New York City, the Report also presents and analyzes data regarding the City's overall population and the changing patterns of rents, household incomes, rent-to-income ratios, employment, and other characteristics of New York City's housing market.

The 508-page Report contains substantial demographic and economic data useful to policymakers and analysts in many fields.

About The Author

Anthony J. Blackburn has extensive experience in the field of housing. His work in New York City includes the redesign of the Rent Guidelines Board's "Price Index of Operating Costs" (1982-1983), a City Council-mandated study of single room occupancy housing (1986), and an evaluation of the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal's Major Capitol Improvement Program (1989). Dr. Blackburn has worked regularly as a consultant for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and last year served as co-chairman of an international conference on housing reform held in Ukraine. He received his Ph.D from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, taught at Harvard University, and is currently president of Speedwell, Inc., a Massachusetts-based consulting firm.

How to Read HVS Tables

When looking at the HVS tables, be sure to keep the following things in mind:

The HVS is a SAMPLE survey. The Census Bureau interviews thousands of households and then "weights" the data to achieve citywide totals. Remember that small numbers in the HVS tables may not be statistically significant.

The HVS is a survey based on HOUSING UNITS. For the survey the Census Bureau selects a sample of housing units (i.e. addresses) and interviews the households in these units. This is different from some other surveys, which track households.

Interpreting the data in the tables may not always be intuitive. Here are a few examples:

The Census Bureau reports the HVS data in a number of "Series", including separate tabulations for "Renter-Occupied" housing units, "Vacant For Rent" units, etc. We currently have data on Renter-occupied units and will soon post the "Vacant For Rent" series.