Real Estate

Navigating Today’s Rental Market

At the Listings Project, a weekly newsletter of no-fee apartments, the rents are still reasonable, but listings are moving fast. “We have a lot of ‘seeking listings’ from people from all over the world, all over the country, seeking a Manhattan apartment,” said Stephanie Diamond, the project’s founder.

For Mr. Valentin, the new competition at a time when he is out of work leaves him with few options. His roommate may move to Queens or Long Island. Mr. Valentin might move with her or leave New York for Denver, Austin or Baltimore. He’s not sure. For now, he’s waiting. “We still have September,” he said. “Even though it’s stressful, we want to enjoy our last couple of weeks in the city.”

For renters who are discovering a market far more competitive than it was in 2020, there are still options. You just have to know where to look.

In neighborhoods like Astoria, Sunnyside, Sunset Park, Inwood and Washington Heights, the median rent in the second quarter of 2021 for a two-bedroom was less than $2,200 a month, according to data provided by StreetEasy.

In Upper Manhattan, demand is up, but rents aren’t. “People are coming and renting, but we’re not seeing the same bounce back of prices,” said Karen Paul, the head of rentals at Bohemia Realty Group, which has offices in Washington Heights and Harlem.

Some types of uptown apartments are particularly slow to rent. “Nobody wants studios anymore,” Ms. Paul said. Renters “just want more space because they’re there all the time and they have to operate their whole world out of their apartment.”

Concessions are harder to come by this year, but they still exist, particularly when it comes to broker’s fees. Once the bane of a renter’s search, they are now the exception. In July, 75 percent of rental listings on StreetEasy were advertised as no-fee apartments.

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