Rents Drop to New Lows, Which Are Still Ridiculously High

The real estate market crash newspapers believe we should be upset about -- said papers apparently believing we all have a million bucks we'd like to invest in house-flipping schemes -- proceeds apace. Today the Wall Street Journal tells us the whole country is seeing a 22-year-high in vacancy rates, and we were encouraged to see that New York City had in consequence the largest rent decline in the nation -- until we learned that the 5.8 percent drop brings us to an average of $2,680. That's monthly "effective rent," which includes "landlord concessions such as one month free rent." At this pace apartments will only become affordable when people stop moving here entirely. Pray God it's soon!

The Times laments the drop in real estate prices in Harlem:

The "sense of electricity and evolution" of uptown realty's boom years "has been unplugged," they say. They find a longtime brownstone owner who worries the neighborhood's turnaround will be arrested, but seem mostly concerned with the lost investments of speculators like Craig Charie, who wanted to sell the building he renovated for a profit but now contemplates "chopping up the home, which belonged to a Harlem family for nearly 90 years" -- wonder where they are? Rolling in dough, we hope -- "and renting it out to Columbia University students." Well, more college kids certainly counts as blight in our book. Why can't they go to William and Mary?

Maybe Vornado will come to Charie's rescue. The realtors are seeking a billion dollars to buy up "distressed properties" via its new Vornado Capital Partners LP imprint. They've got the bucks to ride out the storm, assuming it ever ends, and make a nice profit.

Don't let it bring you down, renters -- you can still live in Bushwick for as little as $1,350, the asking price of a "strange, long, and rather makeshift-looking" loft. Pets okay!

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