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The trade-offs New Yorkers will make to find an affordable apartment

October 8, 2019

Rent affordability and the struggle to look for an NYC apartment

Finding a NYC apartment to rent is tough, and finding the perfect place in an increasingly unaffordable market is even tougher. Often, New Yorkers have to choose between spending a lot for a shorter commute, or paying less but at the price of a long commute. A new StreetEasy study delved into the struggle to find an affordable apartment, looking at the trade-offs apartment seekers make when looking for a place—in particular, the role that budget plays into the whole search.


Looking at instances in which StreetEasy users saved listings in 2018, the analysis revealed apartment-seeker behaviors across different price points. For example, renters who start by looking at apartments under $2,700/month end up looking at more expensive units later on, while those who start searching for apartments over $2,700/month, will lower their price/budget as they go through their search. 


StreetEasy’s analysts also found that renters on a smaller budget “have to sacrifice their preferred location and price point in the end”: New Yorkers searching for apartments at $1,800/month look on an average area of 4.9 square miles while at $4,000/month users search within 1.4 square miles. 


It’s not surprising that NYC renter trade-offs are largely based on budget, but the report notes that these choices may be driving the wider market trends. “The coffee shops, trendy retail storefronts, and organic grocery stores popping in neighborhoods where such things would have been unthinkable 20 years ago are a direct result of the rising share of New Yorkers forced to look beyond more central parts of the city, and are not themselves the forces increasing demand for homes in these areas,” the study reads.


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