The (Manhattan) Rent is (Seriously) Too Damn High


Ah, the Manhattan real estate market. That one barrier holding you back from the Big Apple’s charm while simultaneously making you go absolutely insane. This collection of brokerages and hidden fees turns this anxiety-driven urban playground into a rental nightmare, forcing inhabitants to search for their humble abode on the other side of the East River. And with good riddance.

Over this past weekend, the NYTimes reported that, according to numbers from the brokerage firm CitiHabitats, Manhattan is costing more than it ever has, passing the 2007 housing bubble threshold. To stay in an apartment on this lonely island, a person has to dish out, on average, $3,418 a month. If we do the math, that is $41,016 a year; or, in other words, run… as fast as you can.

You might be saying, “Well I live in a studio and don’t pay that much.” That is true, which is why the number is the average. With that being said, here is a snippet from the article to get a sense of what we’re all paying:

“Rental averages are up in every category, with one-bedrooms rising the most, by 6.5 percent over the past year, to $2,747, according to the Citi Habitats report. Studios rose 3.6 percent, to $1,953; two-bedrooms climbed by 6.1 percent, to $3,865; and three-bedrooms rose 4 percent, to $5,107.”

But what could possibly be causing these prices to skyrocket? The answer to that eternal question is (not really) simple: a “tight credit market” is keeping us all hostage to fatter rent checks rather than full-lease buys. Yes, that “tight credit market” that we never really know about or ever see yet our financial lives are held victim to its horrible sway.

Now, one could jump ship and head to Crown Heights or Astoria or Park Slope or Long Island City or a handful of other neighborhoods that offer much more bang for the buck. But Manhattan is still Manhattan; this dream-like Eden where its do-or-die, go-big-or-go-home (to Brooklyn) and a dog-eat-dog world. This explains why, for the people who still live on it, no one is leaving: the vacancy rate has been floating around 1 percent for the past few years.

Welcome to the biggest conundrum in all of New York City.

Archive Highlights