Officials: Real estate boom drives soaring rents | Greene County

The cost to rent an apartment in Greene and Columbia counties is skyrocketing and government leaders said Monday they believe it is because of the recent boom in real estate.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s estimates for population and components of change, Greene County saw a 1.19% increase from April of 2020 to July of 2021.

Greene County was second to Sullivan County in population growth, following the pandemic’s exodus from New York City and the surrounding metro area. It is estimated that 48,499 people now live in Greene County.

The Census Bureau estimates that 568 individuals have relocated to Greene County, but how this has affected the problematic housing needs in the area is up for debate.

“My No. 1 goal is to create more affordable housing,” Mayor Kamal Johnson of Hudson said Monday. “Citizens contact my office daily inquiring about affordable housing and there is nothing available. Working-class and local people are being displaced to the outskirts. Long-term Greene and Columbia county residents have been forced to relocate to cities like Albany and Troy.”

The Census Bureau’s median gross rent estimates are based on 2020 data. In 2020, the median gross rent in Hudson was $924, Albany $992.

Catskill (town and village combined) had a median gross rent of $925. The real estate market indicates significant increases to these numbers. Rent prices in Albany are up between 2% and 7%. Catskill rent prices are up between 6% and 23%.

“Real estate has ballooned over the last 18 to 24 months,” Deputy Greene County Administrator Warren Hart said Monday. “We have seen that long-term rentals are diminishing. What has replaced long-term rentals is the Airbnb or Vrbo weekend or week-by-week rentals. There is high demand for long-term rentals, with little to no availability.”

Median annual household incomes have not seen the same inflation rate as rental costs. Hudson’s median household income is $39,292. The city of Albany has a median household income of $48,512. Catskill reported $42,200 as its median household income.

Using Hudson’s lowest listed apartment price of $2,250 and multiplying it by 12 — the cost of one year’s monthly rent — renters would be responsible for paying $27,000 per year. With the median household income for Hudson at $39,292, renters would only have $12,292 left to live on for that year. That would leave a potential Hudson renter $588 under the poverty index for a household of one.

The Greene County Section 8 Voucher Program is open. Individuals can apply in person at 175 Water St., Catskill, between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. The application is available in English and Spanish. They can also be contacted at 518-943-5170.

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