New York City rents are notoriously exorbitant and hit a record high this year. In June, the citywide median asking rent he hit $3,500, up 35% from last year. Reported by StreetEasy.
Manhattan’s median rent is currently the highest at $4,100, but that doesn’t mean other boroughs are ripe for stealing. Those who want to rent in the city but don’t want to pay astronomical prices are looking to Brooklyn and Queens, which are pushing up rental prices there as well.
Median asking rents in June were $3,200 in Brooklyn and $2,600 in Queens.
In both Brooklyn and Manhattan, renters spend more than 50% of their salary on rent, and in Queens they allocate more than 40%. This goes well beyond the rule of thumb that rent should not exceed 30% of income.
These rents are a shock to New Yorkers who moved here during the pandemic, as well as those who lived here long ago.
Tenants had bargaining power during the pandemic. With many leases signed during the pandemic coming up for renewal, the power is back in the hands of landlords.
Casey Cleary, 39, and her husband have lived in a one-bedroom apartment on the Upper East Side since 2015. Recently, however, her landlord informed them that their rent would go up by $700.
“When we had the new lease increase, we wanted to talk to the landlord and discuss if we could negotiate a little or if we had a little room,” she says. Within minutes, they responded by saying no that they had already offered a preferential rate of $700, so they weren’t willing to negotiate at all.”
They considered leasing elsewhere, but Cleary lost her job and decided to move to an Airbnb until she found one.
Ernestine Siu*, 23, moved to the East Village in January 2021 and scooped up an apartment with her roommate when prices were low.
“So the rent was actually discounted,” she says. “Plus, our apartment has an in-unit washer and dryer, which is something you don’t see very often in New York City unless you pay a premium.”
This year, her rent nearly doubled from $2,250 to $4,395.
“So when I got the lease renewal in the mail, I knew right away that I wasn’t going to do this,” she says.
She and her roommate started searching and were shocked at what was available.
“For the whole week, I was just broken looking at the prices,” she says. “One day I literally called her mother and said, ‘Mom, I feel like I’m a failure. I can’t even afford to live in the city.'”
After touring 3 or 4 locations, the two ended up in one location in Brooklyn for $4,400.
“I basically decided that I had to change my lifestyle a bit and save as much as I could,” she says.
However, for some renters, the rent increase was enough to force them out of town.
In 2020, 32-year-old Thelma Rosa Annan moved into a Manhattan apartment that was priced at $1,882. In 2021 her rent went up to $2,400 and this year she went up to $3,500.
“I thought this was a mistake, so I actually refreshed the page. I saw the number and started laughing because it was so ridiculous,” she says. I started laughing because it was such a ridiculous number that I had to keep telling myself, ‘This can’t be possible.'”
She’s grateful to have spent two years in the city, but she won’t pay any more premiums.
“I’m going to store my stuff and go to Europe and work remotely,” she says. “And I hope New York housing settles down.”
*Ernestine Siu is an Associate Producer at CNBC Make It.
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