The real deal: real estate trends in NYC

By Joia Vieira


New York, January 11, 2019 – Known to everyone, the housing prices in New York are sky-high. Great numbers of viewings, rising prices and little time to make decisions. Buyers in the large city sometimes feel trapped when it comes to moving houses. How do you find a suitable house in a market that is overheated?

George Fireman, real estate agent from VBP Real Estate Services in New York explains ‘’As far as buying or renting an apartment goes, the most expensive areas are the ones that have been for many years: the West village, Soho and certain areas in the upper West side. These are the areas that still require a premium price’’.

A benefit for buyers, especially starters, is that the city is investing in the suburbs, which makes them more attractive to live in. ‘’It is important for New Yorkers that the city invests in the suburbs. To give you an example, there is an area in the Bronx called Motthaven and it is just a quick subway ride to Manhattan. For years, Motthaven was an area that was not considered very good, but in the last 18 months to two years it has transformed. They opened several hipster coffee shops, funky restaurants and little boutiques which makes that housing has gotten more exciting there. Proximity is also important, because people need to be able to get to work easily.’’ This means that the area does not necessarily have to be the prettiest area with the nicest buildings, but it needs to be accessible with public transportation and it is essential to offer facilities where people’s primary and secondary needs are fulfilled. ‘’These buildings where people can buy an apartment would have been sold for $600.000 whilst currently they are sold for two million.’’

The advice George would give a starter when wanting to move to New York is to start out renting. You cannot predict upfront if the area will fit you. Making the financial commitment of buying an apartment is something to be careful with. ‘’The New York lifestyle is not always easy and it is surely not made for everyone’’ according to George. Most people either hate it or love it. This is because everything goes very fast – taking the subway is impossible for people with a handicap or an injury, the food is expensive or unhealthy and the pedestrian is a war-zone in rush-hour. ‘’You never know if you buy a place and want to sell it after two years, it may be worth less.” In George’s opinion, people should buy an apartment when they are sure that they want to commit to it for at least 5 to 10 years. ‘’In the regular cycle of the New York real estate, there has always been a history of shifting prices. For 10 years or so, the prices go up and at a certain moment they will go down again. At this moment, it is worth a little less.’’ A positive thing for buyers is that prices are actually coming down for, according to George, considerably a small period of time. ‘’Interest rates here have risen and therefore it is 10-15% cheaper to buy an apartment. The time where people buy blindly without having even seen the state of the house is over’’. Local governments, who control the rent laws, have now taken the rules back to a very difficult level which makes it hard for landlords to rent their place out.

Even though the high prices can be demotivating to buy a place, it also encourages people to think out of the box. One of the options for living in New York is buying a friend’s apartment.A friend’s apartment consists of several private bedrooms and a shared bathroom or kitchen. Another opportunity is to live in a so-called tiny house, which is comparable to a luxurious mobile home. Next to that, there is also the option to live in a micro-apartment. This is a very common way of living in NYC. A micro apartment consists of around 30 square meters where a private bedroom, bathroom and kitchen can be found. In most cases micro-apartments come with, for example a shared workspace or roof terrace. ‘’I am constantly amazed by what people come up with. Instead of renovating a big apartment for families, there is currently a trend for owners to just make sure there is enough space for several people to live in since they earn more money by doing so. That big 18.000-dollar apartment goes up to 26.000 dollars a month with a lot of people waiting in line ready to rent it’’ explains George.

It is beneficial to live just outside of the city-center, since the city is easily accessible with public transport and the suburbs are becoming comfortable place to settle. Nevertheless, the real New Yorker might want to adapt to the new ways of living.