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South Bronx rental launches lottery for affordable apartments with pricey rents

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The cheapest affordable apartment will begin renting at $1,348/month

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The lottery has launched [PDF!] for a small batch of affordable apartments within a new development in the South Bronx but there is one major problem: the prices aren’t exactly affordable for the neighborhood.

The new building at 407 East 160th Street in Melrose is offering eight one- and two-bedroom apartments for individuals earning 80 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI). This means individuals earning between $46,218 and $53,440 or two people earning between $46,218 and $ $61,120 can try their luck for one of the four one-bedrooms that will rent for $1,348/month. The building’s four affordable two-bedrooms will go for $1,521/month.

While the prices aren’t totally outrageous when you consider what market rate across the city looks like, it is a bit much for the South Bronx, considering it is being touted as affordable. As Brick Underground highlights, maintaining rent payments at the required salary would be challenging, to say the least.

A recent study alarmingly showed that Bronx residents are more likely to get priced out of their neighborhoods than New Yorkers in any other borough. About 56 percent of households in the borough qualify as “rent burdened” (more than 30 percent of their income goes toward housing) and there aren’t signs that it will improve anytime soon.

In the South Bronx, the community is questioning whether affordability can coexist with the upcoming waterfront redevelopment, though history has illustrated that such projects tend to welcome a new crop of residents who are willing to shell out more cash, to the detriment of the neighborhood’s lower-income residents.

In any event, the lottery will be accepting applications until June 1. Residents of Bronx Community Board 3 will be given preference for 50 percent of the units.