HPD Releases Initial Findings of 2023 Housing and Vacancy Survey

In two years, the city’s vacancy rate has dropped from 4.54% to 1.4%.



In two years, the city’s vacancy rate has dropped from 4.54% to 1.4%.



The Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) recently announced the initial results of the latest New York City Housing and Vacancy Survey (NYCHVS). Conducted since 1965, NYCHVS is the longest running housing survey in the country and the official source of the city’s net rental vacancy rate, used to determine the continued need for rent control and rent stabilization. The data is gathered by the U.S. Census Bureau at the request of the city every three years.

Dramatic swing since pandemic. The latest NYCHVS covers January through mid-June 2023 and shows that New York City’s vacancy rate has dropped to 1.4 percent. This is the lowest the rate has been since 1968. In two years, the vacancy rate dropped from 4.54 percent, which was one of the highest on record. For context, the vacancy rate at the time was due to the COVID-19 pandemic, when many residents decided to leave New York City to be with family or find less dense and cheaper places to live given the widespread use of remote work.

By borough, Manhattan and Queens saw the biggest drops in net rental vacancy rates; Manhattan dropped from 10.01 percent in 2021 to 2.33 percent in 2023, and Queens dropped from 4.48 percent in 2021 to 0.88 percent in 2023.

Housing stock growth. While the net housing stock grew by about 60,000 units or 2 percent, a relatively high rate compared to recent decades, housing supply still failed to keep up with the demands of the city’s new 275,000 households.

According to a statement by Mayor Adams, “While our administration continues to create a record number of affordable homes and helps more New Yorkers move into these homes than the city ever has before, we need more tools to house our neighbors, protect tenants, and deliver the affordability New Yorkers deserve. I am calling on all levels of government to help us meet this moment and ensure New York City remains a viable home for working class New Yorkers.” 

Housing proposals. To respond to a lack of low-cost housing, the Adams administration has made a number of proposals. The administration is seeking to work with Albany to renew a new low-income housing tax incentive, facilitate office conversions for low-income homes to significantly increase the construction of affordable homes, and remove the floor area ratio cap to give the city the flexibility it needs to create more housing where appropriate. It is also proposing a set of zoning reforms toward creating a healthier vacancy rate. The reforms intend to build a little more housing in every neighborhood.

HPD says it will release more data from the survey in the coming months. Per state law, the City Council is required to periodically review if there is an ongoing housing emergency, which is defined as a vacancy rate of less than 5 percent, to maintain the rent stabilization laws. The results of this survey are used in making those decisions.