NYC rent really is too damn high, study shows

NEW YORK (PIX11) — A look at any New Yorker’s monthly bills is a reminder that the city is expensive.

The extent to which it is, however, may come as a surprise. The high price of rent is detailed in a new report, which concludes that it’s more expensive to live in Manhattan and Brooklyn now than it’s been for five years.

Even though those areas of New York City are not likely to ever become inexpensive, there may be ways to save on a lease, if a potential renter is patient.

A major part of what’s fueling the rent rise is a situation that sounds positive on the surface: New York City is growing jobs that pay decently or well.

“It’s a sign that the city is attracting people that are willing to pay high rents to be here,” said Jonathan Miller, CEO of Miller Samuel, the real estate consulting firm that put together the study. “But on the flip side,” he said, is that situation causes landlords to seek rents that new, well paid residents are willing to pay. “And it’s very difficult for many [longstanding] tenants,” Miller said.

His rental price report found that the median rent in Manhattan was $3300. Once again, that’s the median price, in the exact middle of all rents in the borough. That means that many rental properties lease for higher than the $3300 level — some much higher than that.

In Brooklyn, the report concluded, the median rent is $2800. While that’s lower than Manhattan, it represents either an increase or a plateau month to month over the last year.

“Overall, it’s probably a good thing for the city,” said Miller, “but it’s not sustainable at this level.”

Elmira Miranda of Central Harlem is experiencing that fact first hand. “It’s just getting expensive,” she told PIX11 News. “The city is just too much.”

She said that she had to do whatever it takes to pay the rent, even if it means cutting back on other things her family needs, like some groceries.

And she’s not alone. A Harvard University study  last year found that in 1960, about a quarter of all U.S. households were spending 30 percent of their income on rent. As of 2011, more than a quarter of households were spending 50 percent or more of their income on rent.

“We live in control rent housing. That’s it. That’s it,” said Harlem resident Nicole Smith about how she and her family are able to afford to live in the city.

With rents as high as some of the sleek new towers around the city that are charging high leasing prices, families like Smith’s are, understandably, all the more entrenched in their digs.

Even people in apartments near the median rent know that they’re better off in their situation than about half of the city’s other renters, so lease renewals are increasing in number.

That lowers the supply of rental properties, which helps to raise rental prices.

Those prices are expected to increase as the summer wears on, which prompts this advice from an expert. “Rents… most likely will rise because August is the biggest moving month,” said Luciane Serifovic, director of rental properties at Douglas Elliman. “Because of the demand… if you can delay a moving day until maybe the fall, I think you could save some dollars.”

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