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In the past two years, New York renters have experienced bargain-basement lows in the form of pandemic concession deals and record breaking highs, with the average Manhattan rent breaking the $5K mark this summer. Now, an addictive new game challenges intrepid urbanites to guess how much listings cost – and the results may surprise you.

Luxury rental building Silver Towers on W42nd Street. Photo: Phil O’Brien

A visit to Lord of the Rent’s page — produced by the block.a rental app — immediately displays a typical listing, with photos and minimal details about number of bedrooms, bathrooms, floor and neighborhood. The listing also details if pets are allowed, whether there are hardwood floors and if there is a live-in super (the page does not list the square footage of the apartment, though photographs do). Players enter an estimated rent and are scored by how close they are to actual listing price, along with an editorial remark about the user’s ability to guess the rent – such as “Are you a broker???”  and “Mayor Adams, is that you??” for those who guess correctly and “You’re as bad as the Z train” for those who significantly miss the mark. 

While one may be tempted to assume that similarly sized units in the same neighborhood would go for the same rent, any New Yorker who’s been around long enough knows that would make apartment shopping far too easy. In a recent round, one bedroom apartments on the Upper East Side ranged between $2,700 and $3,250 (with a three bedroom in the same area showing for $5,923 👀). The units shown are randomized, but this W42ST reporter noted a distinct lack of Hell’s Kitchen apartments. For those wanting to create their own West Side-themed game, one bedroom apartments in the neighborhood range between $1,750 and $8,000. How can you lose?!

In yet another plot twist in the soap opera plot of the Big Apple real estate game, it appears that some rent concessions are slowly reappearing, if only in the luxury market. According to The Real Deal, a Hell’s Kitchen high-rise, Oskar, at 555 W43rd Street is offering one month free rent, while agents discounted several hundred dollars on two units at SKY on W42nd Street. The rent for Manhattan luxury apartments have risen 20 percent each month over the past year, pricing out even the most flexible renter budgets and leading to an excess of high-priced inventory. 

The same discounts don’t apply, however, to the everyday renter. “The lower-end, middle-end is still very strong; anywhere from $2,000 to $3,000 is still flying off the shelves,” Douglas Elliman agent Jason Amirian told The Real Deal.

Wondering if there are any sale discounts in the area? The infamous Hudson Yards “Kendall Roy” penthouse from Succession just closed for a 41 percent discount – at $35 million. Guess we’ll all have to stay tuned for more episodes of As the Real Estate World Turns

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