New York City
More than 30% of New York's tenants are spending more than half of their income on rent. Nout Gons/Pexels

New York has always been expensive, but as housing prices continue to rise, the Big Apple is setting new records. Data indicates that rent costs increased seven times faster than earnings last year, and over half of New York's residents are paying more than 30 per cent of their before-tax earnings on housing. In other words, New Yorkers are increasingly rent-burdened.

More than 30 per cent of tenants, or one in three, are spending more than half of their income on rent, exacerbating the city's homelessness crisis. Even tech professionals, who earn some of the highest salaries of any profession, are feeling the pressure of the housing market.

A report by rental platform StreetEasy and industry group Tech reveals that tech workers earning the industry average salary of $135,089 per year could only afford to rent 35 per cent of the available apartments in New York City last year. The shocking figures show that even wealthy tech experts spend up to 30 per cent of their gross income on housing and upfront costs.

In response to the findings, Tech's president and executive director, Julie Samuels, told Business Insider: "The crunch around housing is incredibly widely felt... If these tech employees can't afford housing, then who can?"

According to the New York State Department of Labor, tech workers, defined in the report as those in computer and mathematical occupations, earn the third-highest average annual salary in the city.

Despite being home to almost 90 per cent of NYC's IT jobs, Manhattan is the most expensive region. According to StreetEasy, entry-level tech professionals made an average of $75,262 in 2023 but could barely afford 2.1 per cent of the city's studio and one-bedroom rental properties. The average monthly rent in the region was $4,000 last year, with landlords asking around $3,500 for one-bedrooms and studios.

For more than a decade, New York City has seen a sharp increase in tech jobs, partly due to government efforts to promote tech education and attract digital firms to the city. However, the report also reveals that New York City has only built 200,000 new homes in the last decade.

"People who work in tech really want to live in New York," Samuels added. "That drives the companies here as well, so that they can hire those people who want to live there. But if the people who want to live here can't afford to live here, that cycle gets messed up."

The housing crisis is affecting New Yorkers with lower incomes even more severely. According to StreetEasy research, the average IT worker earns 52 per cent more annually than the typical worker in New York City.

Less than five per cent of rental properties on the market last year were considered affordable for New Yorkers earning the average salary in the city, measured at around $5,300 a month, and less than one per cent of available rentals were within the budget of half of the 22 occupational categories examined for the StreetEasy analysis.

This crisis reflects a broader issue affecting not just tech workers but all New Yorkers. With housing costs soaring and wages lagging, the city faces a severe affordability challenge. The high cost of living in New York is reshaping the demographics and potentially threatening the city's status as a hub for talent across various industries.