While the city always seems to be growing and expanding, experts say it's not fast enough to meet demand. Zoning restrictions, the cost of construction and the ability of politicians to find a solution are some of the obstacles to increasing the supply of housing. Joshua Young, executive vice president and managing director of sales and leasing at Brown Harris Stevens, said that landlords were too optimistic to expect rent increases of 20% or more, and that many are now starting to lower prices or add more concessions to keep their apartments full. And according to Douglas Elliman's August report, nearly one in five apartments in Brooklyn was rented above the asking price.
While rents are falling in many parts of the country, rents in New York are still stubbornly high and the number of empty or unrented apartments remains low. In New York City, when offers due to the pandemic expired, people who had reduced the price of their apartments were forced to buy new ones, giving landlords the opportunity to increase rents even more. The apartment had an oven leading to the staircase that led to the lower level and two bedrooms (without windows) on the ground floor. Crazy, not sustainable, and a breaking point is the environment in which I found myself last month when I went looking for an apartment in Brooklyn with two roommates (and a corgi) in tow.
So, with all that migration, why is apartment inventory still so scarce and rents so high? Rachmany has an answer, and it's in New York's reputation as a city with aspirations for people from all walks of life. In addition, fewer affordable apartments are being built because, overall, less housing is being built, said Vicki Been of New York University. But just as we started reviewing all the usual apartment listing sites available: StreetEasy, Craigslist, Compass, HotPads and Zumper, it became apparent that we would probably have to be flexible with our budget, especially if we wanted to stay close to Crown Heights. In fact, many Manhattanites moved to Brooklyn over the past year, hoping to find larger apartments that offered more amenities, including outdoor spaces.
All of this was combined with the usual charcuterie board in New York City apartments, rooms that could only be accessed from other bedrooms, buildings that embraced fire stations (and in one case a funeral home), showers with enough mold to be considered science fair experiments, and apartments that made marbles run for their money.