Best ways to find affordable housing in New York

Best ways to find affordable housing in New York

New York City

Moving to NYC is a dream come true for many people from all over the world. However, only those that are brave enough, succeed in it. New York isn’t called a concrete jungle for no reason. If you are not ready to work hard and fight for yourself, the city will eat you up, and we are not only referring to a career in NYC. The real estate market might be even crueler than the business world. Finding affordable housing in New York City is equal to winning the lottery, but there are some ways in which you can stay within budget. Let’s see what they are!

What are the most affordable boroughs in NYC?

If moving to NYC to you actually means relocating to Manhattan, you might be living in a
fantasy world. There is not a more expensive place in the world that you can call home. Only 2% of all renting places here cost less than 2,000$ per month. As a matter of fact, the average renting price in this prestigious borough is a bit above 4,000$. If you are not ready to waste that money (provided that you have it in the first place), you should consider finding some more affordable housing options a bit further away from the core of the Big Apple. When it comes to your relocation, there is no need for you to worry. With the right assistance, you can move with ease no matter how far away your new home is from the old one.

The Bronx is one of the boroughs where you can find affordable housing in New York

The good news is that the public transport system in NYC can get you to almost any part of the city relatively quickly. The lines are regular and anything but scarce. That is why most New Yorkers do not have a car. Those who live near their workplace usually walk, while others use trains and cabs. Here are some parts of NYC that are well connected to the rest of the city, yet have cheaper housing options:

● The Bronx and Staten Island share the title of the cheapest NYC borough with the
average rent at about 1,700$.
● Queens – the average rent is 2,800$, while 31% of places rent for less than 2,000$
● Brooklyn – you will need a bit over 3,000$ per month for the rent here.
The rent prices within these boroughs vary significantly, so you can dig even deeper to try and find the most affordable neighborhoods.
Social networks and modern apps can help you find affordable housing in New York
Even though a serious approach to home hunting would imply hiring an agent, there is an ever-growing number of groups on Facebook connecting people who are in need of living space with those that are offering it. Even for adult New Yorkers, it is common to share an apartment with a roommate or even a number of them. Sharing the rent is actually the only way for many people to afford living in the city, so subletting is very popular. Other social networks can also be used for this purpose and there are many applications you can try.

Mobile apps can help you find a new place

But, if you are moving with a family, sharing your future home with roommates is probably not an option, so let’s take a look at some more official ways to find a place to live in NYC.

Inclusionary housing program

Some investors and developers get incentives to leave 20% of their apartments to citizens with lower incomes. You will have to meet the income requirement so that you can even enter this program. The annual salary lower than 50,000$ is what qualifies you for the program. It is basically a lottery, so you are not likely to win it easily. But, if and once you do, you will not have to think about looking for a new place for another 20 years, since that’s how long the regulations usually last for.

Rent-regulated apartments

The largest affordable renting program in NYC covers most of the apartments built before 1974.

We are talking about every third rental in New York here. Your landlord has to offer you a new agreement ever year, and the program actually means that the rent can only grow by the set number of a percent on an annual level. Unfortunately, this is not a guarantee that you will be paying the rent that is equal to the market value of your place.

After you leave an apartment that is rent-regulated, the landlords can increase the rent by as much as 17% without investing a single dollar in the property. If they do decide to invest, the rent can go even higher.

Mitchell-Lama housing program

Seventy years ago, developers were given breaks on property taxes and other incentives, and, in return, they had to provide affordable housing to their future tenants. Most of these apartments have regulated rent, while some 3% of all rentals in NYC fall into this program. Those are the apartments that can be bought for a relatively small amount of money, but the trick is – when you decide to leave the place, you will have to sell it to the developers at the same price you paid for it. Of course, there are monthly maintenance costs you will have to pay along the way. Unfortunately, the waiting lists for this program are way too long, especially for more desirable neighborhoods. One more thing – the income that qualifies you for this program should not exceed seven times your rent.

Section 8 housing vouchers

These vouchers are actually a federal subsidy aimed at people who earn no more than 50% of the median income of the area they live in. The voucher is meant to help them bridge the gap between the amount that is 30% of their salary and the rent cost. But, here’s the trick – all vouchers are taken, and the waiting list is endless.

Section 8 vouchers will help you spend only 30% of your salary on your rent.


So, as you can see, affordable housing in New York is not so easy to find. Even though there are options on paper, things look rather different in reality. While waiting for the perfect property to appear, you can take a look at many virtual open houses and get to know the market condition even better. Good luck!




Contributed by Lisa Roberts

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About Gay E. Rosen

Gay E. Rosen is a Top Realtor in the Larchmont and New Rochelle (Lower Westchester) area. She is diligent, caring, driven and thorough (with a sense of humor).Utilize her expertise. Call her!
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