Sunday, September 18

The Impact of NYC's Rental Market on College Students

New York City is one of the most inflated and expensive real estate markets in America. That market is even more difficult to maneuver when you’re living on a college student’s budget.

Sam McFarland, 21, is a junior at the New School. And even though he started classes at the end of August, he still does not have an apartment. “I’ve gone to the bank multiple times to get money for a deposit, returned, and lost the apartment because somebody else put down more money,” McFarland said. “I have been staying at a friend's apartment, on his couch, and have been constantly scanning the Internet for open houses and deals on apartments. I’d guess I’ve made over two hundred phone calls for apartments.”

McFarland has been searching for a one-bedroom apartment in Brooklyn, and with a limited budget, finding the right deal has been taxing. “I get really frustrated with the whole situation. I know that there are good deals out there, and I know my apartment is out there. But, the amount of work that I’ve had to put in, while going to school and work, has been crazy. I keep waiting for a lucky break.”

Certainly not alone, McFarland has the unfortunate task of dealing with the New York City real estate market. In most markets, real estate agents are paid by the homeowner or landlord trying to sell the property. But, because of the high demand, agents, often referred to in New York as brokers, charge the person trying to rent, instead, a fee that can range from one month’s rent all the way up to %15 of a yearly lease.

And this current market isn’t much help for those like McFarland, who can see a one-bedroom apartment in Manhattan typically go for around $2,500 per month. The vacancy in New York City is less than %1, and the rent prices have never been more inflated than they are in this current back-to-school market. “I live at home on the Upper West Side in order to save money,” New School junior Eddie Rakowicz said, “It certainly isn’t that popular with the ladies, but it saves me a ton.”

Despite living in extremely confined quarters, some students are looking to the positives of their living situations. “My bedroom is big enough for a queen-sized bed and about one foot of walking space,” New School junior Luke Mulder said, then added, “But one of my current roommates is a German supermodel, so you won’t find me complaining.”

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