Archive for the 'News' Category

“Not a Dive After All” via the NY Times

NY times not a dive pictureAnother lead story on rentals this past weekend in the New York Times real estate section. This one’s about first-time renters and the affordable apartments that can can be found for less than $1000 per tenant. Not only in far-flung neighborhoods like Washington Heights and Sunset Park, but also on the Upper East Side and Park Slope. The best thing is that these apartments are nicer than ever before, with dishwashers, windowed bedrooms and charming exposed brick walls. Real the full article HERE. Picture is also via the Times. Looks like these ladies scored a sweet place!


Curbed Coverage of Rent Regulations Board

Issues of rent control and rent stabilization are controversial and downright contentious. It’s a thorny problem, so I hesitate to post about them much. I lived in a rent stabilized unit for a few years, but I also know some small-time landlords who are struggling financially as much as their tenants right now. Regardless, I know people are interested in this issue so I’ll point you to the coverage that can be found HERE.

Time Out NY: “Lower Your Rent”

tony-coverThe cover story of this week’s Time Out NY is all about rents falling throughout the city. For the most part, the reportage was well-done and non-alarmist and there was some practical info on how to speak with your landlord about getting a reduction.

Read the article Here and Here and take a look at my coverage on the fall of the rental market and how to negotiate with your landlord.

“How to Reduce Your Rent”

“Further Tips on Negotiating With Your Landlord”

“Renegotiating the Rent?”

Will Tenants Join Landlords to Fight Property Taxes?

Via the NY Observer:  There are proposals afoot to change the NY State property tax laws.  Currently, the property tax burden is not equally shared among all residents of NYC and it is single family home owners that pay the least relative to the amount of space they occupy. Owners of multi-family buildings would like to make tenants aware of the percentage of their rent that goes toward property taxes, “maybe we ought to insist to our owners, when they send their rent bill to tenants, state, like ConEd does, only in much bolder print, that 20 percent of your rent is going to the City of New York in taxes” and see if they can possibly enlist tenants in the fight for a more equitable tax structure.  I do worry that media coverage of these issues is a tricky thing and I would urge you to do your own research about the reality of taxation in the city before drawing firm conclusions.

See this post for earlier coverage of the tax burdens of renters

“Rents Fall as Unemployment Rises”

Via the Bloomberg News Service. Using recent statistics provided by my agency, Citi Habitats, Bloomberg reports that rents have fallen across the board by as much as 5.9% in some neighborhoods and categories. This does not mean that every apartment in every neighborhood is cheaper–it’s the over-priced, the luxury, the amenity-heavy units that are feeling the biggest drops as people city-wide tighten their belts and eliminate unnecessary luxuries from their budgets. Still, people looking for more affordability are in luck, as there are more and better apartments available all over town.

Renters are Smiling? No Need to Ask Why

smiley-faceOnce again, this weekend’s NY Times real estate section’s lead story covered the declining rental market but this time with a positive spin–the tenant angle. The Times is reporting on the fact that tenants are getting more for less, while uninhabitable craphole apartments are sitting empty (as they should). Young couples are no longer forced to live in cramped and tiny studios, recent college grads no longer must travel the farthest reaches of the L train to find an affordable Brooklyn share. Things are looking up.

I was particularly interested to read the Times coverage of the impact that owner incentives may or may not be having on the current market, with landlord’s paying the broker’s fee on an estimated 30% of all apartments and many more offering some kind of free rent incentive. You can read the full article HERE.

Brownstoner coverage of this article can be found HERE.

Links to further NY Times coverage of the rental market price decline can be found HERE.

Citi Habitats Releases December Rental Market Report

Average rents are up slightly in every single category. This is crazy to me: how can vacancies have risen as prices also rise? What about supply and demand? Some neighborhoods have seen quite a drop-off in prices, the LES and UES both saw fairly steep declines in the studio category but prices rose for one bedroom apartments, and overall studios were a weak category. Perhaps people are moving in with roommates rather than living alone? Soho and TriBeCa are now the most expensive neighborhoods, with the highest prices in all categories and the lowest vacancy rate. In contrast to the West Village, which seems to be declining in value somewhat.

A possible explanation for these price increases could be the impact that landlord incentives are having on the market. Many prospective tenants are going no fee and wind up paying a higher rent rather than a broker’s fee upfront. With the no fee option, rent for a specific apartment may be slightly higher (between 3-10%) and the cost of a broker’s fee is amortized over the life of the lease. Additionally, with many of the larger management companies offering one or two month’s free rent to entice potential tenants, on the books their rents are higher than the net monthly cost to the tenant.  Citi Habitats calculates these averages based on the amounts for which apartments actually rented and does not include the impact of any landlord-offered incentives on the net rent, thus accounting for the rise in recorded prices. If one takes landlord incentives into account there may actually be a decline in monthly net rents on a one or two year lease.


About Me

Michelle Erfer is a licensed Real Estate Salesperson in New York City.
» About this blog
» See my latest listings
» Email me: