County Executive:News Releases:Steinhaus Announces 2003 Rental Housing Survey
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News Release    

January 12, 2004      

Steinhaus Announces 2003 Rental Housing Survey

Poughkeepsie… County Executive William R. Steinhaus has announced the release of the 2003 Rental Housing Survey completed by the Dutchess County Department of Planning and Development. The County’s survey is divided into four sections: apartment complexes of 20 units or more, multi-family rental housing, condo’s and homes for rent, and subsidized housing. The survey shows that Dutchess County’s rental housing market continues to be tight with increasing rents and very few vacancies.

According to Steinhaus, “Dutchess County’s increasing rents and low vacancy rate correspond to a strong local economy and increased demand for housing in Dutchess County. While this is a nod to Dutchess County’s strong economy, it also shows a current inability to keep up with the natural market demand.”

The average apartment complex rents for one and two bedroom units, which make up 92% of the units, increased 3.5% and 3.6%, respectively. The average one bedroom rent increased from $828 in 2002 to $858 in 2003. The two bedroom rent increased $35 to $1,029. The rents for studio and three bedroom units decreased slightly but this is not considered significant as there are so few of these units that the averages tend to fluctuate more than the one and two bedroom units.

The vacancy rate, in the 7,616 apartment complex units covered by the survey, was 1.8%. Only 135 units were reported as vacant. This vacancy rate is considered extremely low. Housing experts consider a 5% vacancy an indicator of a health rental market where landlords have acceptable vacancies from a financial perspective and there are sufficient vacancies for tenants to move.

Steinhaus noted, “Earlier this year I announced the development of a coalition of partners to address workforce housing issues which is a logical next step in our on-going efforts to handle this need in our community. This model is similar to the successful public/private partnerships I have created for the implementation of our economic development strategies as well as our Greenway plan for smart growth management.”

The multi-family housing section shows a similar trend to apartment complexes. The average rents for one and two bedroom units increased 7.0% and 15.4%, respectively. The average one bedroom rent increased $53 to $808 while the average two-bedroom rent increased $133 from $862 in 2002 to $995 in 2003. The median rents showed a more moderate change with a 6.7% increase in one-bedroom rents and 3.9% in two bedroom rents. Median numbers are often considered a more reliable indicator of the market as they remove the exaggerating influences of extremely high and low rents.

Steinhaus continued, “While Dutchess County is not alone in dealing with the challenge of having a full range of housing options available for our residents and our workforce, with the development of our housing coalition we will remain proactive on the issue. We have strong partners in this community dedicated to enriching projects. I believe this approach will produce results in the housing arena for Dutchess.”

Although a vacancy rate is not calculated for multi-family housing, this year’s survey covered 389 units, which is the most units since 1996. It appears there is more availability in the multi-family market than the past five years.

The condominiums and homes for rent section had similar rent increases to the apartment complex and multi-family rental housing. The section also showed an increase in the number of units available.

The subsidized housing section continued to show significant waiting lists. The County also collected information on the Section 8 program and homelessness for the 2003 study. A total of 3,139 people are on Section 8 waiting lists throughout Dutchess County. Homelessness information from 2002, the last full year available, showed that 1,272 individuals accessed emergency housing through Hudson River Housing and Grace Smith House in 2002.

Each year the survey calculates the annual income needed to afford the average rents using the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development standard that a household should pay no more than 30% of their gross income for housing, including utilities:

Unit Sizes   Annual Income  
  Apartment Complexes  Multi-Family Units 
Studio  $26,480  $27,440 
1-bedroom  $35,280  $34,560 
2-bedroom  $42,600  $42,800 
3-bedroom  $53,920 $53,080 

The full survey is available on the County’s website at or from the Department of Planning and Development, 27 High Street, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601, (845) 486-3600 for a charge of $4.00 plus postage, if applicable.

For more information contact:
          Anne E. Saylor, Housing Coordinator
          Dutchess County Department of Planning and Development, (845) 486-3600


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