Trials and Tribulations in the New York City Rental Market

By: Nicholas Adams Judge

Most people under thirty planning on moving to New York City approach finding an apartment to rent the same way they usually find a job, car, bike, or even a date: they go on Craigslist. More often than not, though, the notoriously difficult New York City rental market breaks the will of these go-it-aloners like a sadistic, push-up happy drill sergeant does his cadets.

The biggest factor in any rental market is inventory. For those that don't know, inventory in regards to rental markets means the percent of the city's rental apartments that are currently available to rent.

Since the middle of the 20th century, New York City has had low inventory rates, usually defined as below 5%. Nowadays, however, the situation has become almost barbaric: The current overall inventory rate is just 2.2% (you don't even want

to know what it is in Manhattan). Furthermore, the situation is only getting tougher... there are more and more people out there, and New York City is not getting any bigger.

Combine the inventory picture with New York City's landlords, who are extra skeptical about their future tenant's ability to pay rent  a security deposit of six months rent is not entirely unheard of  and you have a market that can be truly scary for first time renters.

The lesson from all this? Using Craigslist or similar sites for New York City is a bit like taking your trusted rowboat from the hometown pond and paddling it across an ocean during a hurricane: The trusty device has worked for you

in the past, but it's just not going to cut it here.

Whether you are a savvy renter just starting out, or someone who has had their will to live chipped away to dangerously low levels by months of uncomfortable couch surfing, you know that specialized, professional help is the only way to go.

Unfortunately, fees for rental agents are often prohibitively expensive; in many cases they are as high as 15% of the entire year's rent. Consider also New York City's classic moving fee  which is another completely arbitrary, because-we-can fee that landlords use to force new renters to fork

over another month's rent. When you combine both of those fees, you are often looking at having to pony up over $20,000 just to move in to a place.

So, it's no surprise that specialized websites like www.citycribs.com

have grown in popularity as the renter's market has gotten tougher and tougher. They combine large numbers of listings  the citycribs website has over 29,000 listings for New York.

It's another example of the digital economy replacing the old; and making life a whole lot easier when finding a New York City Apartments.

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