You Can Get A Decent Apartment In NYC! Sort Of!

Just don't look for a new place, and you'll be fine!

Good news for those seeking a decent apartment in NYC: They're available, even if you're fresh out of college with an entry-level job. At least according to realtors. I contacted someone who knows stuff—Wendy Maitland, managing director of Town Residential real estate agency—and she told me that newbies have a solid chance of getting quality homing, with three provisos: They should be willing to share, they need to "stretch the parameters of their neighborhood specifications," and they must have some kind of workable budget. But still, there's a chance.

"We've placed some people in great apartments in the Hudson Yards area where MiMA is," Maitland tells me. "The East Village is another great option—the block on St. Marks Place between First Avenue and Tompkins Square Park is gorgeous, and it's safe, and the park has improved tremendously. Then you have Brooklyn and Harlem as options, as well as the financial district. It's perhaps the most overlooked area in Manhattan. With Condé Nast moving in, how can it be cooler?" Maybe if they'll let me use the cafeteria.

Actually, I happen to have friends who live in that area, and they say it's surprisingly accessible. "Manhattan's very narrow there," agrees Maitland, "so you're never more than five blocks to a subway. And it's super quiet at night. And if you take the time to learn a little bit about the history, you feel like you're in the most magical, romantic place every time you walk out your door." Just ignore all the protesters, lol.

But is the East Village really affordable? "It depends," she says. "You could get a small, two-bedroom apartment [in a walk-up], with a kitchen you could cook in for $3,000 a month. I'm not saying the rooms are going to be the size of Texas, but I think that's a bargain. And you have fantastic restaurants.

"But the market today in New York is many markets," continues Maitland. "It's extremely segmented. The best thing you can do is get to know the city neighborhood by neighborhood, which is the greatest adventure of all time."

The same goes for buying, but I needed to turn to Gil Neary, president of DG Neary Realty Ltd., for some free insight on the old rent-versus-purchase dilemma. "The rental market in New York City is actually pretty strong," he says. "We're now finding that people can buy apartments, and there's a low interest rate on the mortgage and on a monthly basis, they'd be spending less than a rental, assuming you'd be paying at a market rate, not rent stabilized."

But again, of course, there are provisos. "The catches," he says, "are that you have to have cash to put down on the purchase, and banks aren't allowing you to borrow more than 80 percent of the purchase. But people think of the down payment as investing in their home. Also, if you don't have a fairly traditional job history or paycheck, it's not as easy to borrow money as it used to be. You need to be able to prove a regular stream of reliable income and solid credit." But if you fit all those criteria, now is a peachy time to buy, and the lovely tax break you get on the mortgage could make it a capital "Duh" decision.

Apparently, there's even hope for people who already own. "I feel optimistic," Wendy Maitland tells me. "New York City is essentially high ground for real estate in terms of the country and the globe." A Corcoran brochure recently informed me that one-bedroom co-ops depreciated even more last year, but Maitland says that was largely based on closings that had started in motion in 2010. She predicts I'll one day break even on my place, which was sweet news. (After years of inflation, breaking even won't feel all that triumphant, but, hey, make lemonade.)

Neary agrees that co-op and condo values will rise, partly because renting mania will drive them up. "The rental market moves faster because it's easier to get in and out of it," he tells me. "And typically, the sales improve when the rental prices go up because that makes sale properties more practical homes."

To taste the other side, I talked to a few apartment seekers, one of whom corroborated the fact that the rental market is hotter than Shake Shack right now. He's a thirtyish Health Department worker I'll call Bruce, and he was happily living with a roommate in a West 53rd Street two-bedroom when the rent suddenly shot up 33 percent a month to $4,000.

Bruce was desperate to move and eventually found a $2,800 one-bedroom in Brooklyn Heights to share with his boyfriend. But they were strangely told that they had to put down 10 months rent in advance, plus the security. After some consideration, they were willing to do so—but they were rejected anyway!

The official reason was the boyfriend's uneven freelance income, though he happens to have a huge trust fund. But Bruce thinks they were really done in because they'd found the apartment through a double listing, and one of the two agents preferred to try for the whole commission.

They kept looking, but realized that for anything decent, the competition was crushing. So Bruce is staying put—and to help make up for the rent hike, he just canceled his cable and has decided to bring his lunch to work.

So you all might want to ignore everything I said before. Just stay where you are and start packing a tuna sandwich!

Read more Michael Musto at La Dolce Musto

musto@villagevoice.com

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22 comments
MustoGoAway
MustoGoAway

JEW YORK CITY HAS LOTS OF CHICKS THAT ARE INTO YOGA IT"S REALLY A GREAT INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY YOGA MATS AND HERPES

MustoGoHome
MustoGoHome

NEW YORK NEEDS MORE BANDS LIKE JEWISH MAROON 5. THEY ARE ALMOST AS GOOD AS RHIANNA. JEW YORK POLICE STATE CITY IS A GREAT INVESTMENT, BECAUSE OF THE CULTURE

HasBeenMusto
HasBeenMusto

Jew York POlice State City is well past its prime. You're a moron to invest here.

IdiotMustoHasBeenDouche
IdiotMustoHasBeenDouche

That's SO HEARTWARMING to hear about Bruce and his boyfriend! This article is so diverse and tolerant, it just fills my heart with joy! We've come so far since Stonewall!

StupidNewYorkers
StupidNewYorkers

JAY-Z AND RHIANNA ARE THE GREATEST ARTISTS OF OUR AGE. JEW YORK POLICE STATE CITY IS A CENTER OF CULTURE

PukeMusto
PukeMusto

Home values in Old York Neo-Boshevik Jewish Police State City are going down the toilet. Jew York Police State City is a stupid investment.

VomitMusto
VomitMusto

has-been Jew York City is about 7 or 8 years behind San Francisco in terms of culture. If you're looking for culture, has-been Jew Yorck Police State City is not where you're going to find it, unless 72 year old homosexuals wearing dresses is your idea of culture.

Stupidnewyork
Stupidnewyork

I hear there are REAL GENUINE ANARCHISTS who live on the lower east side and are part of the "downtown scene". RAGE AGAINST THE CUL-DE_SAC

Asdgou3ta32
Asdgou3ta32

Oh yeah man! THe 'downtown scene' yeah, it's so exciting to be around gray haired old commies and f*cked-out jewish crack whores! New York is so exciting!

Asdhgliduddsa
Asdhgliduddsa

Jew York City is a has-been, police-state crap hole filled with old aids-infected homosexuals, with ZERO in terms of culture. (except for "the museums" of the past that every one mentions when you bring up the lack of culture in Old York Police State City). Especially odious are people like Musto - what a drag. Expect apartments in this has-been city to become increasingly available going forward. No one wants to live in a has-been city where the jewish mayor forbids you from owning a gun to defend yourself against the violent "people of color" infesting this welfare trash hole.

If you love being randomly searched by jew-sponsored NYPD goon squads, and being sniffed by police-state canines while the worst of old homosexuals parade their trash culture on bway and elsewhere, then New York City is the place to be!

Face it, musto, you are a disgusting has-been homosexual, and its people like you that have ruined the city.

LIMEN!
LIMEN!

I've always been shocked at how small, and over priced the apts in NYC are. I remember meeting a great young man, back in 1989. He had a fabulous job that aperson would die for. When we got to his three floor walk up. No problem to me. Well when he opened the door, it was a 10'x10' room. No window. A bed, and no closet or bathroom. I don't know how he lived there. He said that he tried to just sleep there.Ilove the big city life, the arts, and all the great people but those socalled apt. Thank God, that I have friends to stay with.

mec
mec

1500 for a shoebox room in a bootbox apartment? Well, its pretty high but Im actually shocked its not even more expensive.

Mark Brandt
Mark Brandt

I don't know New Yorkers do it.... I'm amazed at the rent prices.

I love visiting New York but could never ever afford to live there.

anonymouse
anonymouse

"3000 a month but there are nice restaurants." Which of course you'll eat at often with the plentiful discretionary income you'll have left over after the rent.

Christopher
Christopher

$1500 a month is more than half my income. I don't know where these recent college grads are working but I want their jobs! Meanwhile, I share in Prospect Lefferts Gardens. My room is $683 a month. In a newly renovated apartment. Which is enormous and has a full kitchen with dishwasher. And it's 40 minutes to mid-town and I can walk to Prospect Park. Why oh why people live in Inwood and the Heights for twice as much and a longer commute I don't know.

recent grad
recent grad

um. I wish $3000 a month sounded reasonable...I'm thinking more like $6-800 is what most recent grads would be lucky to be able to shell out....

Gregorama
Gregorama

Thanks for the helpful pointers. As a recent apartent-searcher myself, I may be of some help here as well: For reasons which still puzzle me, some of the best bargains to be found in Manhattan are on....The Upper East Side! Not the 5th to Lexington part, but east of Lexington, from the 70's-low 90's (aka Yorkville). After being banished to Inwood (for complicated reasons), last year I literally STALKED Craigslist for about 3 months, checking every half-hour or so for new listings. I had only a few, if stringent, "must-haves": Under $1500 monthly, no broker fee; outdoor space; below 96th on the UES (elevator, in-building laundry, dishwasher, fireplace were all "would-love-to-haves"). I looked at one place on 82nd and York (dump) and then found a listing that sounded too good to be true: Alcove studio at 76th/2nd, $1450, no fee and ALL of my must-haves and love-to-haves (except the fireplace). Turns out there was an error in the listing. It should have been $1650, but since I'd printed out a "screen shot" of the Craigslist ad, the broker (fee paid by owner) had to honor the listed price. SO, the lesson here is: Craigslist is the ONLY way to get a no-fee rental right now (though in just one year, I understand that "no-fee rentals" are becoming few and far between). PRINT OUT the listing! With my 2-year lease, I save $4800 right there. The south-facing terrace is such a luxury in a Manhattan studio. And hell...if I'm still alive in 2018, I'll have a new subway line right around the corner!

Tinytimber
Tinytimber

You're so right about how hard it is to bag a good rental nowadays, espec. in Manhattan. I don't know where all these rich people are coming from. Wasn't there a recession?

Teatro
Teatro

Thanks for the tips! I will either stay where I am or I will consider the Financial district!

VonD
VonD

Thank you. It's insanity, barely rationalized!

VonD
VonD

UES off York has been decent for decades now. Back in the mid-1990s, when apartments were trending upwards in the $900-$1200 range in many places, you could still get apartments off York for about $600-$700. Not sure why it remains below the rest of the market, but maybe it's because you're farther from the subway, that is, until the 2nd Ave. mess-in-progress in finished. Then all bets are off.

 
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