Housing Vacancy Survey
About the New York City Housing Vacancy SurveyBeginning 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 SurveyOn 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 HVS Press Release from HPD
- Housing Conditions and Problems In New York City:
An Analysis of the 1996 Housing and Vacancy Survey
New York University School of Law, Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy
- Renter-Occupied Housing Units, Tables By Variable Type
- Vacant For Rent Housing Units, Tables By Variable Type
- Vacant For Sale/Vacant Not Available Housing Units
Some of the important findings of the 1996 HVS include:
- The number of vacant-for-rent units rose considerably between 1993 and 1996 (by 11,000), resulting in a vacancy rate of 4.0%, up from 3.4% in 1993.
- The vacancy rate for rent stabilized housing units was 3.4% in 1993 and 3.6% in 1996.
- The median income for ALL households (renters and owners) increased from $23,000 in 1992 to $25,000 in 1995, or 8.7%. The inflation-adjusted median (1995 dollars) was $24,871 in 1992 and $25,000 in 1995.
- The median income of renter households increased by 5.2%, from $19,005 in 1992 to $20,000 in 1995. After adjusting for inflation, the median declined by 2.7%.
- The median income of rent-stabilized households was $21,600 in 1995, about the same as the inflation-adjusted median of 1992.
- The proportion of renter households with incomes below the poverty level increased from 29.9% in 1992 to 32.3% in 1995.
- The median monthly gross rent, which includes utility payments, increased by 14.3%, from $551 in 1993 to $630 in 1996. Adjusting for inflation (changing 1993 rent to April 1996 dollars), the increase was 6.1%
- The median monthly contract rent, which excludes tenant payments for utilities, increased by 18.4%, from $501 in 1993 to $593 in 1996. This was a 9.8% increase after adjusting for inflation.
- The median gross rent-income ratio increased from 30.8% in 1993 to 32.3% in 1996.
- The proportion of rent households that were crowded (more than one person per room) in 1996 was 10.3%, the same rate as in 1993.
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.
- Housing Vacancy Survey Press Release -- rather comprehensive with many key findings of the complete report.
- HVS Table of Contents -- from the report
- 1993 HVS Tables -- many of the 1993 HVS tables courtesy of the Rent Guidelines Board
- Vacant For Rent Units -- additional 1993 HVS tables courtesy of the Rent Guidelines Board
About The AuthorAnthony 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 TablesWhen 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:
- Race and Ethnicity of Householder - The "householder" is the person (or one of the persons) who rents or owns the sample unit (i.e. the apartment or house the Census interviewer visits). The HVS indicates the number of HOUSEHOLDS (in this case synonymous with "dwellings") in which the householder is white, black, etc. Note that this variable is NOT the same as the population of whites, blacks, etc. Nor does it show the number of mixed households (e.g. two roommates rent an apartment, one is black and one is white. However, since only one will be counted as the "householder", the data will reflect the race of only one roommate).
- Condition of Building - All of the numbers in these tables are numbers of housing units (in the case of renter-occupied units, synonymous with "households"). Thus, under the "Total Renter" column we see the number 23,336 in the "Dilapidated" column. This is NOT the number of dilapidated Buildings but the number of housing units IN dilapidated buildings.
- Household Receiving Public Assistance - In some cases the data refers to the householder and in some cases to the household. For instance, in this case the numbers refer to HOUSEHOLDS (i.e. the persons occupying the dwelling unit; NOT necessarily synonymous with "family") which have one or more persons receiving public assistance.
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.