According to online rental platform Zumper, the average monthly rent for a Manhattan studio apartment in January 2021 was $2,025.
By January 2023, this had jumped to $3,300, for a whopping 63% increase. As bad as this sounds, that isn't even the worst of it.
As of August 27, 2022, Zumper showed average rent for a Manhattan studio at $3,495 a month! A nearly 73% rent increase in less than two years is the stuff of nightmares if you are the one writing the checks.
It isn't just the studio apartments, either. The other typical configurations – the one-, two-, and three- bedroom apartments – show similar increases. Take a look at these on the Zumper page linked above if you are interested.
Unaffordable to “sort of” affordable, and back again
Apartment rents in many cities took a big downturn during the pandemic, as many newly-minted remote workers fled to less expensive surroundings.
This dramatic decrease in rents, followed by equally dramatic returns to even higher levels, has acted as a "bait and switch" for newcomers to the city. When New York City apartment rents became more reasonable (although still outrageous by any meaningful standard), some were able to afford them.
Now that rents are back to their former heights, many of those lured by the recent much lower rents are having to make some hard decisions.
What, if anything, can we learn about the temporary downturn in the price of rental housing? Can anything we learn be helpful to those being squeezed once again by the dramatic rent increases?
Supply and demand are still in charge
It is no secret that the sudden decrease in demand for apartments in Manhattan (and other cities) as a result of the pandemic was a big factor in the dramatic reduction in rents. As more people realized they could perform their remote work from less expensive locales, many landlords were left competing for tenants. Now that many companies are back to on-site working, the increased demand for apartments has driven rents skyward once again.
Supply and demand of anything, including housing, is the primary factor determining price. This can be an important principle for those who are determined to find an alternative to the increasingly unaffordable cost of housing in places like Manhattan.
One option for some: get out of Dodge / Manhattan!
For many people, moving to another location is not their first choice. If the insane cost of living in a place like Manhattan makes a move inevitable, however, the possibility of getting paid to relocate might offset at least some of the pain. Here is a video that discusses some of the possible choices:
The ideal place to move, at least for some, would be a location that would help you to make the move as suggested by this video.
You might also want to add to your "wish list" the desirability of an area with somewhat stable housing costs. This is where the supply and demand principle can help.
The parts of the country that have allowed new housing to be built as needed have fared better in the reasonable rent department than areas where building new housing has been difficult or impossible.
Coming soon: roommates, or arithmetic is your friend
You might be surprised to learn that good old supply and demand can also apply to another well-known tactic for dealing with high rents: roommates. This might be helpful for those of you who just can't move and must deal with the big city's outrageous rents one way or another.
I plan to write more about roommates soon, so be sure to follow me so you can see this article when I post it here on NewsBreak. And of course, please like and share this article if you found it helpful. Thank you!
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