A majority of New Yorkers now live in fear of being priced out of their homes, one of the surprising findings of our latest NY1-Baruch College City Poll, which, for the first time, found affordable housing atop New Yorkers' list of concerns. NY1's Bobby Cuza filed the following report.
Crime is at or near historic lows, and the city’s economy is adding jobs. If anything, it seems the city’s biggest problem is that it’s too desirable a place to live, driving up rents and displacing longtime residents.
Indeed, when respondents to our NY1-Baruch College City Poll were asked the most important problem facing the city today, for the first time, affordable housing topped the list at 20 percent. Crime, and jobs and the economy, were the next most frequently cited, at 16 percent, followed by homelessness at 12 percent.
In fact, almost two-thirds of New Yorkers said they believe they’re at risk of being priced out of their neighborhood in the next few years, with 65 percent calling it very or somewhat likely. Just 32 percent said it’s not too likely or not at all likely.
The fear cut across virtually every demographic.
"Pretty much everybody thought they would be priced out of their neighborhood, everyone who’s under the age of 65," said Mickey Blum, pollster with Baruch College. "Even people who earn more than $100,000."
Yes, even among those earning six figures, 53 percent say it’s likely they’ll be priced out. And while concerns run higher among minorities and the less educated, 52 percent of college graduates and 56 percent of whites also fear displacement.
The results would seem to validate Mayor Bill de Blasio’s focus on affordable housing. He’s made it a goal to build or preserve 200,000 affordable units over 10 years. But on the related issue of homelessness, which he’s poured resources and energy toward over the past few months, most New Yorkers don’t believe he can turn things around.
"People are very doubtful," Blum said.
Asked by our pollsters whether de Blasio would be able to reduce homelessness, only 38 percent said very or somewhat confident. Far more, 57 percent, weren’t confident.
As to the most important cause of homelessness, lack of affordable housing topped the list at 26 percent, followed by unemployment at 23 percent, mental illness at 18 percent and substance abuse at 14 percent.
"There’s good reason for the mayor to focus on affordable housing and on mental health, because those two are major causes of homelessness," Blum said.