Real Estate

Even Tech Workers Struggle To Afford Sky-High NYC Rents

New York City tech workers could only afford about 35 percent of rental apartments available on the market last year, according to a new report.

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Finding an affordable apartment in New York City can even be a challenge for workers in one of the nation’s most lucrative fields, according to a new report from Streeteasy.

New York City tech workers could only afford about 35 percent of rental apartments available on the market last year, according to the report, which was published in partnership with Tech:NYC.

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That figure is higher than many other professions and illustrates the extreme lack of affordability in the city’s rental market, considering that the average annual wage for tech workers in New York City was $135,089 in 2023 — 52 percent higher than the average NYC salary.

For an entry-level tech worker making well below the average salary, only 2.1 percent of studios and one-bedroom units were affordable during 2023, according to the report, with Streeteasy defining “affordable” as rentals that cost less than 30 percent of one’s annual income. To comfortably afford the city’s median asking rent of $3,475 by that metric, one would need a salary of $139,000.

Workers outside of tech have an even harder time affording New York City rents, according to the report, with workers who make the city’s average wage only being able to afford 5 percent of apartments, and essential workers who make the average wage in their field affording less than 1 percent of available apartments.

“Housing affordability has been a persistent barrier — and top priority — for all New Yorkers, from the essential workers keeping our city running to the tech workers powering New York’s fastest-growing industry,” Tech:NYC President Julie Samuels said in a statement.

Among solutions posed by the report are zoning reform to allow for increases in housing near public transit, increasing the floor area ratio by 20 percent in medium- to high-density areas, and lowering upfront rental costs by only requiring tenants to compensate agents when the tenant is the one who hired the agent, ending the practice of single-agent dual agency in the city.

Rents in New York City, already high before the pandemic, have been soaring in the four years since. Last year saw the median rent jump 8.6 percent from the year before to $3,475, the highest increase since 2010. In the same period, the average wage rose only 1.2 percent, according to federal statistics.

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