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If you were hoping the real estate market would cool off this summer, we have bad news — like the heat index, rents continue to climb in the Big Apple — as confirmed by rental search engine Zumper’s new study, showing Manhattan one-bedrooms skyrocketing to new heights, pushing renters out.
According to the study, median Manhattan one-bedroom rents have hit $3,950 a month — a 38 percent increase from 2021. Over at real estate firm Douglas Elliman, a new report from Miller Samuels claimed even more depressing numbers, clocking their median April one-bedroom rents at $3,995 for Manhattan, with the same median rent across all apartments on the West Side. For comparison, the median rent for West Side apartments was $3,816 in January, proving that warmer weather has put the metaphorical heat on prospective renters. Rent.com shared an even glummer outlook, declaring that April rents in Hell’s Kitchen were priced at an average of $6,000 a month.
As was the case in January, the continued rise of inflation both nationwide and in the Tri-State area was a significant factor in the rising rents. Shelter costs in New York, Jersey City, and Newark rose 0.4 percent from last month and are up 2.2 percent from last year, according to the Consumer Price Index at the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Additionally, a distressing lack of inventory also affected the numbers — New York is currently home to more Airbnbs than rentable apartments, leading to outsized bidding wars and a landlord’s market. Across the West Side, renters decried mammoth rent increases without additional amenities or properly maintained repairs, as was in the case at the Ritz Plaza where tenants were smacked with increases up to 80 percent from the year prior earlier this year.
The price jumps aren’t just limited to luxury high rises, either — W42ST spoke to Candice Kilpatrick Brathwaite, currently in the middle of a lease negotiation nightmare on a 2-bedroom renewal increase of 140 percent. Kilpatrick Brathwaite, who has lived with her husband and daughter in Hell’s Kitchen for the past 18 months after a decade in Brooklyn, was hoping to stay in the area, having recently started a new job in Hudson Yards and entered her daughter into a local Pre-K lottery.
“I knew it was a pandemic bargain, but I was prepared for some increase,” she said of the previous price of $2,200 a month. But when she contacted her landlords, management company Noam, concerned that she was within the 60-day period of lease renewal and had yet to hear anything, she was told that her rent would be increasing to a whopping $5,300 a month.
“The previous price was not a concession, and I was mentally prepared for as much as a 33 percent increase,” said Kilpatrick Brathwaite. When she reached out to get the number in writing, she was told that the market rate was now $4,800 a month — still an increase of almost 119 percent. Kilpatrick Brathwaite reached out to her neighbors, who confirmed that their lease renewal for an identical unit was significantly lower at $4,300 a month.
“To be blunt, I do feel like there’s like a degree of discrimination,” said Kilpatrick Barthwaite. “My neighbors are two blonde-haired white girls and my family is a multiracial family. I understand the idea behind a market rate, but to be like, ‘oh yeah, now the rent is like $10,000, just feels like ‘we don’t want families, or black people, or poor people’ — it seems sketchy.”
Kilpatrick Brathwaite reached out to the landlords with her concerns, highlighting frequent mouse problems and a lack of heat in the building — and was met with the same response about market rate, adding that “If we didn’t pay the $4,800 a month, the building would go into foreclosure — which sounds impossible, but if that’s true, I guess if you owe exactly $4,800, why don’t I just give that to the bank and just be the owner of the building!” she said. “I don’t like these shock and awe techniques.”
W42ST reached out to Noam management about the situation. A spokesperson stated that they couldn’t provide any further information and transferred us to a managerial office voicemail. We will update if we hear more.
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Faced with limited options, Kilpatrick Brathwaite has exhausted her resources in hopes of staying on the West Side. “I applied for Manhattan Plaza, but I haven’t heard anything, and I applied for ERAP (the Emergency Rental Assistance Program),” she said. Despite the fact that “my husband and I have good jobs — I have a corporate job and he has a union carpenter job, it’s impossible to afford this. And it doesn’t matter if you’re a fast food worker, you should be able to afford to live here,” she added.
For now, Kilpatrick-Brathwaite is hoping that legislators will pass the Good Cause Eviction Bill, a measure that would limit rent increases (including in free market units) to align with the consumer price index. “The management company is not going to offer us better rent on a silver platter — so either something has to change on the state level, or a judge has to decide that in our favor,” she said.
If not, Kilpatrick Brathwaite, reluctant to move the neighborhood her family has settled into, has started looking at apartments in Queens, “because at least it’s on the 7 train.”
“Where do we go from here?” she said. “I was joking, it’s going to be $10,000 for a two-bedroom and Elon Musk will have to be roommates with JWoww, or something like that, Who can afford this market?”