Living in New York: Bye-bye Manhattan

Living in New York: Bye-bye Manhattan
Written by insideindyhomes

An the day before her move, Nua Robinson is wistful. She liked her apartment on New York’s Lower East Side, despite some quirks like the “Railroad” layout. This still exists in some of the older buildings in the city – with one room leading directly to the next, like one train carriage to another. But she’s never had any trouble with bugs, which isn’t a given in New York. And above all, she felt comfortable in her neighborhood. “A lot of my friends live here and I know the people who work in the restaurants,” says the twenty-year-old art student.

A few months before the lease on her two-person shared apartment expired at the end of May, she was already nervous because she knew that rents in the city were going up. Robinson hoped any increase would be limited to a few hundred dollars, and figured that maybe a few extra odd jobs as a waitress could make up for that. But there was a rude awakening: The property manager wanted to increase the rent from $2,400 to $3,800 a month, an increase of almost 60 percent. Attempts to negotiate the price down failed. “They told us there were enough other people who would pay for it.” Robinson saw no other option than to move out. There was no way you could find anything else in central Manhattan on your budget. Instead, she will live in Brooklyn and share a monthly rent of $3,000 with two roommates.

On the real estate market, New York has ticked off the Corona crisis. Stories of drastic rent increases like those experienced by Robinson are a constant flow these days. According to a study by real estate consultant Jonathan Miller for Douglas Elliman, the median apartment rent in Manhattan was $3,870 in April, up 38.7 percent from a year earlier. Rents also rose significantly in other parts of the city.

Most expensive rental market in the USA

Bargain housing that existed in the early days of the pandemic is largely gone, as are landlord incentives like a month’s free rent upon signing a contract. Some New Yorkers, who have taken advantage of intermittent price drops to move to a better neighborhood or live alone rather than in a shared apartment, are now finding themselves forced to return to the old normal.


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