Written by Isabella Sorgi
NYU is not only a world class university – it is also a New York City landlord. Freshman year offers many anxiety producing moments. However, locating and securing housing is not among them. Freshmen huddle in NYU dormitories protected from the New York real estate market. On the other hand, upperclassmen (often with their friends) seek out private apartments for the school year. Normally this is a terrifying and expensive undertaking. However, 2021 may offer a unique chance to locate an apartment at a fair price point.
Since March and the announcement of the city-wide shut down, local residents have left for the countryside or returned home to suburban areas. The expectation is that many will not return. We can expect to see many renters let their leases expire at the end of the year. In addition, many individuals and companies will continue with remote work well into 2021. Even if they continue to lease or own apartments, some will be available for rent or sublet. Companies, such as Google, The New York Times, Microsoft, and Target, have told their employees not to return to the office until at least July 2021.
When students seek out rental options for the coming semester, they have multiple options to choose from. Published real estate statistics by Forbes show rental vacancies on the rise. There are now 30,000 more apartments available to rent in Manhattan than there were during the same period in 2019, which marks a 70% increase. In addition, many NYC landlords are offering significant inducements. A quantitative review of the underlying rental data confirms this weakness of the Manhattan apartment rental market. Indeed, data published by Miller Samuel Inc. in July regarding the second quarter (April to June) rental market already began showing this weakness. Manhattan had the biggest share of rental listings discounted from their original asking price. Certain neighborhoods have suffered the most. For example, in the second quarter, the Flatiron district had 45% of all listings appear at a reduced rate. Other neighborhoods that are also close in proximity to NYU, such as Tribeca and Soho, have seen 10% price decreases in the past year. These statistics are encouraging if you plan to lease an apartment soon.
In addition to discounted apartment rentals, we are also seeing discounts at alternative housing sites. Harrington Apartments, apartments that are specifically for student living, have significant vacancies and have marked down their prices for the spring semester. In addition, hotels have created ‘discount’ hotel room packages aimed at students. For example, Affinia Hotel Collection launched an Affinia University program for $129 a night or $900 a week. In addition to a room, the package includes workspace, kitchen, housekeeping, midnight cookie delivery, access to a fitness center and study area for $13,500 per semester. Although this is more expensive than NYU Housing, they are marketing based on their flexible week-by-week policy plus amenities.
Given the reduced rental rates in Manhattan, this is the perfect time to begin your search for 2021 housing. Whether you are a recent graduate or a current student, the New York City rental market has lots of options for you to consider at remarkably lower rates. Still, of course, it comes with a price – the pandemic.