What a difference a year makes! Especially in the case of rental housing in New York, where the average rent in Manhattan has just exceeded $5,000.
Take, for example, unit 701 at 200 E. 11th St., a 54-unit rental building known as Eleventh and Third, which rented last week for $6,500 a month. The one-bedroom spread has new glass-paneled windows, polished concrete kitchen counters, hickory flooring — and rented in March 2021, a low point in the pandemic era, for $5,150 , with one month free to start.
“There were concessions offered on every apartment,” Living New York agent Deeb Sankary, who manages the building’s rental, told The Post of activity there in 2021. But at by the fall of that year, rental prices in the city had broken even. with pre-pandemic levels – and have since risen higher and higher, continuing to smash records in the process. “We are at or above pre-COVID prices. We see this regularly in the East Village and all buildings in Lower Manhattan, and we no longer offer concessions,” Sankary said.
A 471-square-foot bedroom at 250 E. Houston St. recently rented for $5,050; a year earlier, and seven blocks west, a much larger 713-square-foot one-bedroom unit at 229 Chrystie St. cost the same. Last month, $5,055 was purchased for a 626 square foot studio at 41 River Terrace in Battery Park City; rewind to this time last year, $5 a month less was enough to score a 1,454-square-foot two-bedroom at 15 Broad St. in the nearby Financial District.
The meteoric rise coincided with soaring housing demand in the city. Schools reopened, offices finally did, and foreigners working remotely moved to the Big Apple, all creating a congested rental market. Tenants began to receive significant increases on lease renewals and bidding wars emerged over scarce availability. Then, last month, average Manhattan rents soared to a dizzying high of $5,058 a month – the first time in history they broke the $5,000 mark, according to the latest figures from Douglas Elliman and Miller. Samuel.
High rents, combined with low inventory, likely mean these sky-high prices are here to stay for at least the next few months.
“The peak rental season is in August each year, so we expect demand to increase over the next two months,” said Jonathan Miller of Miller Samuel. “In the short term, it seems likely that we will see rents continue to rise.”
So what does $5,000 even get you in Manhattan these days – and how does that compare to last year, when a number of locals landed bargains for better houses? Read on and try not to cry.
In upscale Soho, $5,000 delivered a whole slate, including this sprawling loft at 108 Wooster St., which rented for that sum in February 2021.
The 1,272-square-foot space features hardwood floors, high ceilings, large windows, and industrial touches like columns.
There is also a large living room, dining room and separate bedroom and study areas. Meanwhile, the elegant open chef’s kitchen is adorned with stainless steel cabinets and appliances.
“We got the demand,” Compass agent Shawn Williams, who marketed this listing, told The Post. “I had a ton of interest… It would probably cost at least $7,000 now.”
You can still get a pretty decent spot – just be prepared for half the space.
A studio at 349 West Broadway that recently asked for $5,000 and rented this week is just 450 square feet.
Although nicely renovated, there is only a small attic accessible by a staircase which also serves as storage.
While the kitchen is updated with a granite counter and a dishwasher, there is only a half fridge. And while it has a microwave and Wolf two-burner induction cooktop, there’s no stovetop. The bathroom is outfitted with a marble vanity, Toto toilet and custom cabinetry, according to Albert Safdie of BOND New York.
MIDTOWN EAST/TURTLE BAY
As of January 2021, a one-bedroom, one-bathroom unit with city and East River views through oversized casement windows rented for $5,500.
Spanning 907 square feet, the relatively new unit dates from 2016.
Located at 959 First Ave., it features a custom-designed open kitchen and sleek bathroom with marble tiling and Waterworks fixtures. Even better: it comes with a built-in washer/dryer.
Building amenities include a full-time doorman, concierge, fitness center, game room, residents’ lounge with indoor fireplace, courtyard, and bicycle storage, according to Compass’s listing.
Today, you can find it on the rental market for $6,600.
You can still find nice apartments around the same price in the area, but you’ll lose space and luxury finishes.
Located at 155 E. 29th St. in the Biltmore Plaza building, a one-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment rents free for $4,825.
But it only covers 492 square feet. Still, that’s enough space for a sizable bedroom and living room, plus a small kitchen and dated-looking bathroom.
The advantage of this unit is the building’s cool amenities, which include an expansive swimming pool and large gym.
UPPER EAST SIDE
For $5,225 a year ago, you could get a one-bedroom, one-bathroom luxury unit in Lenox Hill, with lots of windows and stunning city views.
This particular residence, at 501 E. 74th St., is a corner unit with two glass doors opening to a wraparound balcony – a rarity in town.
Covering 792 square feet, it also includes a glass-enclosed chef’s kitchen that includes stainless steel appliances and a washer/dryer, according to the previous listing marketed by BOND New York.
Meanwhile, the bedroom features a walk-in closet with a “spa-inspired” bathroom featuring a deep soaking tub.
Around $5,200 in the same area today won’t give you the same luxury, but you’ll still find a reasonable unit.
A unit at 300 E. 75th St. spanning 650 square feet offers substantial living and bathroom space, as well as a separate small kitchen. The bedroom is large enough to accommodate a king-size bed.
Yet this smaller Lenox Hill unit offers none of the dream features — and far less natural light.
This time last year it rented for $4,295.