Bad news for those looking for the holy grail of NYC rentals: a value apartment priced below market rate. The average prices for Manhattan apartments for rent continued to go up in July, and are now close to ten-percent higher than they were at the same time last year. The biggest surprise? The price of Manhattan non-doorman rental apartments, usually a good bet for saving at least a few hundred dollars a month, have been rising at an even faster rate than their doorman-building counterparts, effectively closing the gap between the two…. so much so that even if you’ve never before considered doorman-apartment living, you might want to take a look and see if the now only-slight increase in some parts of town gives you a bigger bang for your monthly-rental buck.
Anyway, the strong Manhattan rental apartment market doesn’t mean you can’t still find good value apartments. In fact, as New York Magazine recently reported, even in the city’s priciest neighborhoods–Tribeca, the West Village, Soho, and swaths of the Upper West and East Sides–there is below-market rate housing to be found, if you’re willing to make minor sacrifices. They found, for example, a one-bedroom on West 12th Street listed for more than $400 below the neighborhood’s usual going rate, a deduction driven mostly by the fact that the apartment was semi-furnished, “making it awkward for tenants who bring their own stuff.”
There was a Junior One Bedroom apartment on 102nd Street that’s going for more than $800 less than the Upper West Side average of $2,216, and it’s pretty roomy, with roof-deck access and a walk-in closet. The downside? No view, and because it’s a sublet in a co-op building, prospective tenants have to sit before the co-op board for an interview. One more example: a Chelsea one-bedroom that was listed for over $1000 a month below the neighborhood average, mostly because the kitchen is “a bit dated”.
The point is that you can always find below market rate apartments in NYC if you’re willing to keep an open mind, and know what’s important to you, and what you can live without. Plus, be patient and do A LOT of research. Of course, not everyone will be lucky enough to get one of these value apartments. However, the best way to save money right off the bat is to avoid finding your apartment with a broker, and using a website dedicated to no-fee apartments, such as Urban Edge.