Department of Numbers

New York City Monthly Home Prices and Affordability

Posted Wednesday, December 02 2009

I added a new dataset to the site yesterday. I'm now tracking home prices and affordability in New York City by borough and neighborhood using the city's own property sales records. This has been something I've wanted to do since I realized that the city was providing this huge pile of property data waiting to be aggregated and analyzed, but when the city revealed that they were holding a competition to make use of New York City's various datasets I knew that it was time to get to work on the project.

In addition to the property sales data, I've incorporated demographic data from the NYCBigApps datamine to calculate affordability. I've long viewed affordability as the primary fundamental that home prices align with over the long term, but affordability also says so much about the cost of living burden for a city's inhabitants. New York, as we all know, ain't cheap. Affordability metrics can show us just how few are capable of home ownership within their means here.

So let me start you off with a couple of interesting looks at the data. The main page is showing you metrics calculated over the entire city (all 5 boroughs). From there you can look at New York City home affordability (based on 2007 median household income) and monthly historical median sales prices through October 2009. We can dig in further and look at Manhattan apartment prices and affordability or recent changes in Williamsburg condo prices.

I'm going to post some analysis after the November data is released (which I expect in the next couple of days), but I'm already fascinated by what the data is showing. Did we really see a bottom in sales prices in New York City in April? Are New York real estate prices that closely linked to the movements of the stock market (the S&P 500 hit bottom in March)? Has the improvement in affordability from price declines and falling interest rates been real or was it negated by diminishing access to borrowing? More to come for sure.