Renting in NYC: What to Expect
Massive population, All Scrunched in...
With 8.1 million residents in the five boroughs, and 19 million in the larger metropolitan area, NYC is the largest city in the country, by far. Then there's the Island thing: unlike, say, Atlanta or Las Vegas, New York's boundaries are mostly determined by water.
A real magnet
It's been forty years since New York was considered a scary place to live, and in the last fifteen years, it's become a real magnet. For many, New York is more than a place to live and work. It's a work of art, a monument of history, a love affair, the be all and end all - a place unlike any other.
More renters than owners
New York City really *isn't* like the rest of America: 69 percent of us are renters, 31 percent own their own homes. In the rest of the country, it's the reverse.
A ridiculously low vacancy rate
NYC's vacancy rate (the percent of available apartments) was around 3 percent in 2011, and rarely rises above 5 percent. So when you're on the hunt, there just are not a lot of apartments to choose from.
Lower those expectations
In New York, you always pay more and you routinely get less. Slanted floors are "funky"; three hundred square feet of space is "cozy"; a bathtub in the kitchen is "authentic". Be prepared for small spaces, dated appliances, and decorating challenges.
Apartments move fast
Many apartments you see listed online have been rented by the time you inquire about them. It's not bait and switch (well, maybe sometimes) - it's simply that apartments move fast. Demand is high, vacancy is low, and landlords and agents don't keep meticulous track of their ads or communicate very well about inventory. Average Rents in Major U.S. Cities That's why using a broker can help: we look closely to contact brokers and landlords to find out which apartments have already been rented, and we do this in a timely fashion. It's also useful for you to know how long a listing has been on the site - so you can better gauge its availability - make sure you ask me about this.
An agent-driven market
NYC landlords are living large in today's market - they have the luxury of raising rents and knowing they can get their price. With demand being so high and vacancies so low, agents can fill vacancies in days, if not hours. Many landlords don't have to work directly with renters, so renters who want to avoid paying a broker's fee have limited apartments to choose from.
Highest rents in the nation
NYCs rents are the highest in the nation. San Francisco is the only U.S. city that comes close to New York's rental market in terms of availability and price. But in a city like Portland, Oregon, for example, comparable apartments rent for about one third of NYC prices (but it rains a lot).