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38 Sixth: Luxury Living at Affordable Rents (much revised)

For those who've occasionally taken a peek at the web site for the "100% affordable" 38 Sixth, something odd--if explicable--has occurred.

From 1/13/17 through at least 3/29/18, according to the Internet Archive, the home page promised "Luxury Living at Affordable Rents," for households with incomes of $20,126 through $173,415, as shown in the screenshot below.

Now the web site advertises "Luxury Living at Affordable Rents," for households with incomes of $74,606 through $199,650, as shown in the screenshot below right. Same building, same regulations.

What's going on?

Well, the low-income households are already living at 38 Sixth, and those units don't need to be marketed.

Only the units in the higher of two middle-income "bands," Band 5, are available, as shown in the screenshot below: two-bedroom apartments for $3,206 and three-bedroom units for $3,695.

These are surely below-market compared with similar new units in the area, but hardly aimed at the needy.

So, unsurprisingly, the 38 Sixth marketing focuses only on the units that need to be rented. But it's a far cry from the 2006 promise of "helping solve Brooklyn's housing crisis."


AMI rising

Moreover, as I wrote in June, the base for calculating Area Median Income (AMI) has risen, to the upper limits for each household as grown.

Compare the original housing lottery ad (bottom), with the revised ad aiming at broader income ranges.

For example, the lowest income to rent a Band 5 studio (of which there are none available as of now) is $74,606. The highest income to rent a Band 5 three-bedroom is $199,650.

As I wrote in June, since the original marketing last year, the income eligibility has stretched, not the bottom but rather the top.

Below are the 2016/2018 income limits, by household size, for two-bedroom units, which have an upper limit of 165% of AMI:
  • 2 people: $111,909 - $119,625/$137,775
  • 3 people: $111,909 - $134,640/$154,935
  • 4 people: $111,909 - $149,490/$172,095
Here are the income limits, by household size, for three-bedroom units:
  • 3 people: $129,258 - $134,640/$154,935
  • 4 people: $129,258 - $149,490/$172,095
  • 5 people: $129,258 - $161,535/$185,955
  • 6 people: $129,258 - $173,415/$199,650
Note that, while 38 Sixth began marketing in January 2017, it used the 2016 AMI; that year, 100% of AMI for a four-person household was $90,600. In 2017, it was $95,400. In 2018, it's $104,300. So 165% of that figure--the upper income limit for middle-income units--is calculated from that base.

The 2018 ad

The original 2017 ad