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State of the City 2020

State of Homeowners and Their Homes

Across New York City, there continue to be stark differences in homeownership rates by race and borough. In 2019, prior to the pandemic, home purchase originations fell slightly from the year before, while refinancing activity increased. During the pandemic, the number of foreclosure filings decreased dramatically, though the geographic distribution of filings was similar to that in 2019. While the volume of home sales decreased by about 25 percent between 2019 and 2020, the prices of those sales rose more than twice as quickly as between 2018 and 2019. 

Most of the figures in this section (homeownership rates, owner cost burden, and mortgage originations for home purchases and refinancing) use data that only go through 2019, and therefore do not include the impact of COVID-19. Only the figures on foreclosure filings, housing sales prices, and housing sales volume include data through 2020. By next year, we will be able to determine whether these trends continued through the pandemic. 

Homeownership rates were highest in Staten Island and lowest in the Bronx.

In 2019, the city’s homeownership rate was 31.9 percent, declining from 33.6 percent in 2009. The rate varies significantly by borough. The Bronx had the lowest homeownership rate at 18.9 percent. Queens had a homeownership rate of 44.1 percent, Brooklyn 29.8 percent, and Manhattan 23.3 percent. The homeownership rate in Staten Island was 65.7 percent, above the national rate (64.1%) and far higher than that in any other borough.

Bar graphs comparing the homeownership rate in each New York City borough in 2009 versus 2019.
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Homeownership rates varied significantly between racial groups. 

In 2019, the homeownership rate was 42.2 percent for Asian households and 41.2 percent for white households, a far higher rate than that for Black and Hispanic households, whose respective homeownership rates were 26.6 and 15.9 percent. Disparities differ across boroughs. For example, the Black household homeownership rate was 48 percent in Queens, about the same rate of homeownership as Asian and white households residing in that borough. However, in all other boroughs, Black households had much lower homeownership rates than Asian and white households, with the largest racial differences in homeownership rate seen in Staten Island. In that borough, the Black-white homeownership gap was 43.5 percentage points.

Bar graphs comparing the homeownership rate by race and ethnicity within each borough of New York City in 2009 versus 2019.
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Through 2019 the share of cost burdened homeowners both with and without mortgages steadily declined since peaking during the foreclosure crisis. 

The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) defines moderate housing cost burden as spending 30 percent or more of household income on housing costs, and severe housing cost burden as spending 50 percent or more of household income on housing costs. The share of cost burdened owners with mortgages in New York City peaked in 2011 (51.7%). The rate has declined about 10 percentage points since then to a 2019 rate of 41.4 percent. Households without mortgages, who still pay for property taxes and utilities, were far less likely to be cost burdened than those with mortgages. The cost burden rate for owner households without mortgages peaked in 2012 at 26.3 percent and has since fallen to a rate of 19.8 percent. Despite these gains, about one in five households without mortgages still faced moderate or severe cost burdens. 

Area chart comparing the share of owner-occupied households by percentage of household income spent on housing and mortgage status in New York City between 2007 and 2019.
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Home purchase originations fell slightly between 2018 and 2019, driven mostly by decreased loan originations in Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island.

Home purchase originations, or the number of new mortgages taken out by borrowers, have remained relatively constant since 2009, following a large decline after the subprime lending era. However, originations fell slightly in Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island in 2019. Staten Island saw 419 fewer home purchase loans originated in 2019 than 2018. The overall number of mortgage originations in 2018 was far less than half of the mortgages originated in 2005.

Area chart showing home purchase originations for all mortgage liens by borough in New York City from 2004 to 2019.
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2019 generated the lowest number of total home loan originations since 2015, but the Black share of borrowers was higher than in any year since 2011.

There were 27,717 mortgage originations across New York City in 2019, down only slightly from 27,893 in 2018. The share of borrowers who were Black grew from 8.8 percent in 2017 to 11.1 percent in 2019. The white share of borrowers declined from 49.2 to 46.0 percent between 2017 and 2019, but still remained by far the highest share of mortgage originations. A notable longer term trend is the increase in the number of mortgage originations for Asian borrowers, which rose from 6,038 in 2012, to 9,173 in 2019, a growth of 51.9 percent. During that same time period, the number of originations increased by 13.6 percent for Black borrowers and 11.2 percent for Hispanic borrowers, and declined by 5.1 percent for white borrowers.

Area chart showing home purchase originations for all mortgage liens by race and ethnicity in New York City from 2004 to 2019.
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Mortgage refinancings increased by 45 percent between 2018 and 2019, with refinancing originations increasing in every borough.

Across New York City, the total number of refinance originations increased from 16,172 in 2018, to 23,477 in 2019. The number of refinance originations increased in all boroughs, and was the most refinancing originations since 2013. The increase in mortgage refinancings can likely be attributed to a relatively low interest rate environment.

Area chart showing refinance originations by borough in New York City from 2004 to 2019.
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The volume of home refinance originations increased for all racial groups between 2018 and 2019, though white borrowers continue to make up more than half of all originations. 

Refinancings increased for mortgage holders in all racial groups between 2018 and 2019. The number of refinance originations increased by 28.8 percent for Black borrowers, 32.8 percent for Hispanic borrowers, 50.6 percent for white borrowers, and 60.1 percent for Asian borrowers. Black mortgage holders had the highest number of refinancings since 2009 (3,981 in 2019 compared to 4,350 in 2009). White borrowers continue to make up the majority of refinancings at 56.7 percent, compared to 17.1 percent for Black borrowers, 15.6 percent for Asian borrowers, and 10.5 percent for Hispanic borrowers.

Area chart showing refinance originations by race and ethnicity in New York City from 2004 to 2019.
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Between 2019 and 2020 foreclosure filings on one- to four-unit buildings and condominiums decreased dramatically.

In 2020, there were 3,194 foreclosure filings for one- to four-unit buildings, an 84.5 percent decline from the peak in 2009. Between 2019 and 2020 alone, the number of foreclosure filings decreased by 60.0 percent. Of all the filings in 2020, 63.4 percent were repeat filings, up from 54.7 percent in 2019. The dramatic decline in 2020 was due in large part to forbearance and a series of moratoria on foreclosure filings enacted by the State and Federal government. 

Area chart showing foreclosure filings on one- to four-unit buildings and condominiums by repeat status (repeat and initial filings) in New York City from 2000 to 2020.
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Foreclosure filings during the first nine months of the COVID-19 crisis were concentrated in Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Queens.

While the overall foreclosure filing rate dropped under COVID-19 related moratoria, the geographies with the highest concentration of filings were similar to the prior year. Of the eight sub-borough areas with the highest foreclosure filing rates (5 or more per 1,000 units between March and December of 2020), five were in Brooklyn and two were in the Bronx. East Flatbush had the highest foreclosure filing rate (6.8 foreclosure filings per thousand units), followed by Morrisania/Belmont in the Bronx (6.3) and Jamaica in Queens (6.3). Those neighborhoods were followed by Highbridge/South Concourse (6.2) in the Bronx and Brownsville/Ocean Hill (5.6), East New York/Starret City (5.4), North Crown Heights/Prospect Heights (5.3), and Bedford Stuyvesant (4.8) in Brooklyn. Two of those sub-borough areas, Highbridge/South Concourse and Brownsville/Ocean Hill, also saw the greatest percentage point decline in foreclosure filing rate compared to the same period the previous year (17.5 and 16.1, respectively).

Map showing the 2020 foreclosure filing rate on one- to four-unit buildings and condominiums in New York City sub-borough areas from March to December.
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Map showing the 2019 foreclosure filing rate on one- to four-unit buildings and condominiums in New York City sub-borough areas from March to December.
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Pre-foreclosure notices issued to one- to four-unit properties and condominiums fell dramatically between 2019 and 2020.

In 2020, the number of pre-foreclosure notices dropped to 23,698, a decline of 43.8 percent from 2019. The decline was likely due in large part to forbearance and the foreclosure moratoria put in place in response to the economic crisis.

Line graph showing the pre-foreclosure notice issued to one- to four-unit properties and condominiums in New York City from 2011 to 2020.
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In 2020, Manhattan continued a three-year trend as the only borough that experienced a decrease in prices for all residential property.

Prices for residential property rose by 4.6 percent across the city between 2019 and 2020, more than twice the increase as compared to the previous year (1.7% increase between 2018 and 2019). Of the boroughs, Queens saw the largest increase (8.1% in 2020), more than quadruple the borough’s rate in 2019 (1.8%). Staten Island saw a similar increase in prices (7.9%), followed by Brooklyn (5.0%) and the Bronx (4.6%). Manhattan continued a negative trend that began in 2018; in the midst of the pandemic, prices dropped by 4.2 percent between 2019 and 2020. With that continued drop, Brooklyn surpassed Manhattan in the index we show of price appreciation since 2000.

Line graph showing the price appreciation for all residential property types by borough in New York City from 2000 to 2020, where the index is set to 100 in 2000.
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In 2020, two- to four-unit property sales prices increased more than prices of other property types.

Citywide, two- to four-unit properties were the property type with the largest increase in sales prices for the second year in a row. Sales prices for this property type rose by 9.5 percent between 2019 and 2020. Sales prices for single-unit properties increased by 7.8 percent, and prices for properties with five or more units rose by 3.8 percent. Prices for condominium properties declined slightly for the second year in a row (-1.0%).

Line graph showing the price appreciation by property type (1-unit, 2- to 4-unit, and 5- or more unit rental buildings and condominiums) in New York City from 2000 to 2020, where the index is set to 100 in 2000.
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Citywide, the number of property sales decreased by almost 25 percent between 2019 and 2020.

19,939 residential properties were sold in New York City during 2020, a decline of 24.1 percent from the prior year. Of all boroughs, Manhattan experienced the greatest decline in sales volume between 2019 and 2020 (-36.4%). The Bronx also saw a notable decline at 27.8 percent, followed by Staten Island, Queens, and Brooklyn (-23.4%, -21.1%, and -17.2%, respectively). These across the board decreases continued a trend that began between 2018 and 2019, when sales volume also declined across the city and in each borough. Overall, between 2018 and 2020, the Bronx saw a decline of 41.5 percent, followed by Staten Island, Manhattan, Queens, and Brooklyn (-39.2%, -37.8%, -34.6%, and -33.3% respectively).

Area chart showing the property sales volume by borough in New York City from 2000 to 2020.
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Sales volume declined for all property types between 2019 and 2020.

Sales volume declined for the third straight year across the city in 2020. Properties with five or more units experienced the greatest decline in the number of sales, dropping by 38.7 percent from the year before. Sales of cooperative apartments fell by a similar amount (32.6%). Two- to four-unit properties, condominiums, and single-unit properties each experienced a decrease in sales volume between 2019 and 2020 (-26.7%, -22.6%, -21.9%, respectively). 

Area chart showing the property sales volume by property type (cooperative apartments, condominiums, and 1-unit, 2- to 4- unit, and 5- or more unit buildings) in New York City from 2000 to 2020.
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