Housing fulfills the basic human need for shelter and is a strong measure of a community's cost of living, relative wealth and general prosperity. In this section, we highlight the trends for 3 indicators: 1) homeownership rates; 2) housing affordability for homeowners; and 3) housing affordability for renters.
In all cases, comparisons to state statistics reflect the state excluding New York City.
Between 2000 and 2010-14, homeownership has increased in all three counties. At the same time, housing has become less affordable for both homeowners and renters. Between 2005 and 2014, the rate of homelessness increased in Ulster.
Homeownership rates have increased across the region.
Ulster County has experienced a slight uptick in homeownership rates, rising from 68% in 2000 to 70% in 2010-14. This was slightly more than the increase in the region of 2 points to 70% while the state remained flat at 70%. The nation’s rate was a bit lower at 64%.
Ulster's rate of homeless persons remained the highest in the region and higher than the state and nation.
In 2014, there were 18.9 homeless persons per 10,000 residents in Ulster, above the 11.2 in Orange and 13.6 in Dutchess. Ulster had a 7% increase in the rate between 2005 and 2014. Homelessness in the state declined by 4% and declined in the nation by 30% during the same time period.
Homeownership has become less affordable in Ulster County.
Ulster tied with Orange for the most affordable home with a ratio of 3.0. That ratio is at the 3.0 considered affordable as well as above the ratio for the nation and state (both 2.5). (The ratio is calculated by dividing median home value by household income.) The ratio in 2000 was 2.1.
Rental housing has become less affordable between 2000 and 2010-14, similar to state and national trends.
Rental housing in the county was also above the federal affordability guideline that housing should cost no more than 30% of household income. In 2010-14, renters in Ulster spent 38% of their income on rent, above Dutchess, the region, state and nation but on par with Orange. Renters in Ulster were also spending more of their income on rent compared to 2000, up 9 points, similar to increases in Orange and Dutchess.