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The Demand For The No-Frills Non-Luxury Rentals In Manhattan Is At All-Time High

It turns out, renters can’t get enough of good ol’ no-doorman-no-frills apartments. Too bad developers aren’t building any.

By Nathalie Nayman May 12, 2017

What makes for a hot, sough after rental unit in a struggling Manhattan market? It is easier to say what doesn’t — it definitely isn’t a doorman in the building.
While developers are frantically stuffing their new buildings with all the possible amenities, renters can’t get enough of good ol’ no-doorman-no-frills apartments. In fact, the demand for “basic” rentals is increasing at such a rapid pace, that the median rent in no-doormen buildings has recently jumped by 5.8 percent. All that — while luxury residential market is famously struggling. In buildings with a doorman, Bloomberg reports, “the median price plummeted 3.1 percent to $3,758, the biggest annual decline in more than four years.”

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Too bad for doormen. Who needs them anyway? Yes, it is convenient to have somebody sign for your delivery package while you are at work but, in the age of modern technology and virtual doormen (video cameras that allow residents to see and talk with visitors), you don’t really need a human stuck in the building lobby 24/7 for that.

But, of course—on a more serious note—this really isn’t about door attendants.
A doorman is an ultimate embodiment of today’s real estate craze – tons of unnecessary amenities for excessive prices. As a renter, you might have been content with a gold old-fashioned abode that provides shelter and reasonable comfort, except the other stuff—a tennis court on the roof and a wine cellar in the basement—is kind of already there. And since they are a part of the deal by default, it’s only fair that you have to pay more for the privilege—too bad if you don’t play tennis.

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And this isn’t some small fee we are talking about here. According to Rent Cafe report, the average difference in rents between luxury and non-luxury apartments is staggering 40 percent. Well, the demand numbers shows that NYC renters would rather pay 40 percent less and settle on a no-doorman, no-swimming pool, no-tons-of-luxury-amenities apartments. If only those were easy to find these days—since housing developers are almost exclusively building luxury units.

Bloomberg’s article says, out of roughly 5,500 newly built units that are slated to enter Manhattan’s rental market in 2017, most will be high-end. If current data trends are anything to go by, two things are certain. Firstly, reasonably-priced no-frills buildings will soon become a dying breed, thanks to high demand and no influx of supply. Secondly, while potential renters are scouring the streets in search of vacancies in no-frills buildings, real estate pros will face quite a challenge leasing the newly built high-end units.

Nathalie Nayman

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Nathalie Nayman

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Nathalie Nayman

Nathalie is an international media trooper. After working as a journalist in Moscow, Nathalie participated in local politics and social movements in Cairo where she covered the protests and political upheaval of the Arab Spring. Nathalie is Agorafy's content manager. She produces and oversees unique and creative content for the Newsroom.

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