Q: I live in a bedroom in Washington Heights, Manhattan. The lease expires in April. My management company says they won't increase my rent if I renew, but they won't offer a rent reduction either. I would love to live in the East Village, but the apartments I've seen are more expensive and smaller than what I have now. So should I stay or move?
New York City rents continued to decline through late 2020, according to a report by Douglas Elliman. The average rental price in Manhattan fell 14.4 percent year over year to $ 2,957. However, the fourth quarter of 2020 also saw a large number of new leases – in Manhattan, they nearly doubled from December 2019 to December 2020 – which may have signaled the end of the slide. If you don't act now, are you missing out on the opportunity to get a deal? Not necessarily.
"The natural assumption is that all of these people are flooding back or moving, that we're getting closer to the window," said Jonathan J. Miller, president of Miller Samuel Real Estate Appraisers and Consultants and author of the Elliman Report. "I've described this as a small step in the right direction, but it doesn't imply any imminent recovery or stabilization in rents, and the reason is that all of the metrics remain pretty bad."
These metrics include: Manhattan inventory is still three times what it was a year ago, so there are even more homes to be found.
With rents falling across the spectrum, make sure you aren't paying too much for your current space. Check the online listings for comparable units in your building and your neighborhood. Also, check the rental history to see if they are shabby. Depending on what you find, have another conversation with your landlord.
"Landlords know how competitive the market is and they want to keep their tenants," said Nancy Wu, an economist at StreetEasy. You may be able to negotiate a concession, e.g. B. One month of free rent, new equipment or access to storage. Find out what you can get even if you ultimately don't stay.
If you intend to live in the East Village this may be a better fit for your budget. In December, the median rent for a bedroom there was $ 2,394, down 17.4 percent year over year, according to StreetEasy. (For comparison, one-bedroom in Washington Heights was down 4 percent to $ 1,875.)
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Remember, you are still getting less for your money in the East Village because you pay for the location. "There will be a lot of compromises," said Ms. Wu. "Think long-term, think about what you don't want now, but as soon as the pandemic is over."
Even if rents are cheaper, not all discounts are created equal. So pay attention to the fine print. A month or two of free rental sounds good, but the discount is spread over the length of the lease. So if you want to extend the cost increases significantly. Your savings are higher when you find an apartment with a lower base rent. Don't be afraid to negotiate, even if you already have concessions. Ask if you can get a rent reduction, apartment upgrades or free access to building equipment.
Next, calculate your moving costs such as moving companies or new furniture. Once you've found an apartment you like and can compare the costs, the answer may become clear.
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