NYC landlords are sitting on apartments because rent is getting too cheap. They’d rather keep them empty.

New York City
New York City landlords are keeping some apartments off the market.

New York City real estate is a finicky game: Apartment-hunting New Yorkers have been scoring deals left and right, but some landlords are trying to beat the discounts by holding empty apartments until prices rebound.

They’ve been yanking empty apartments off the market while demand and rent are low, a practice known as “warehousing,” The Wall Street Journal’s Will Parker reported. While warehousing is a typical approach when demand is down, Parker wrote, it’s reached new heights amid the work-from-home economy and stronger tenant eviction protections.

Parker cited data from real-estate analytics company UrbanDigs: During peak warehousing in August, landlords pulled 5,563 unrented apartments off the market. That dropped to 1,814 unrented apartments off the market in February, but the latter number was still triple the amount of apartments taken off the market in February 2020.

Landlords are likely holding these units in hopes of higher rental prices come spring and summer as the vaccine rollout continues, John Walkup, cofounder of UrbanDigs, told Parker, preventing more New Yorkers from locking in long-term deals.

New Yorkers are scoring deals on rent drops and concessions

“The pressures COVID placed on the marketplace created a unique opportunity to secure leases in prime locations and great buildings for significant discounts,” agent Ryan Kaplan, of Douglas Elliman, previously told Insider.

Rents in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens all had the largest year-over-year declines on record over the last year, dropping a whopping 15.5% in Manhattan and 8.6% in both Brooklyn and Queens, per StreetEasy’s January Rental Report. The median asking rent in Manhattan was $2,750 – the lowest it’s been since March 2010, when rents dropped during the Great Recession.

Some buildings are even offering concessions of two to three months free on leases, which lowers a tenant’s net rent and can allow them to rent out a nicer building with more amenities.

Chris Schmidt, senior vice president of Related Companies, which owns luxurious rentals at buildings including The Strathmore on the Upper East Side and One Hudson Yards, where one-bedrooms can go for as much as $7,453 a month, told Insider in February that Related’s rents were trending down about 15% to 25% depending on the unit type.

Millennials in particular have been taking advantage of falling rents and discounts, upgrading to luxury apartments that suddenly fit within their budget in pursuit of more amenities, space, and the solo life.

But how long these deals will last depends on when the city fully reopens, Schmidt said, and he anticipates more real-estate momentum as vaccinations continue. “That’s going to force a lot of people seeing these steeper discounts to make a quicker decision,” he said, adding that as soon as there’s a better indication of when the workforce will return to offices, rents will start to go back up to pre-pandemic levels.

Nancy Wu, a StreetEasy economist, recently told Insider’s Libertina Brandt she doesn’t think that will happen in 2021.

“Rent will continue to be lower than they were a year ago for the full year,” she said. “Even with the vaccine coming, it’s not going to magically make the huge glut of inventory go away. Prices will continue to fall until the inventory settles a bit, more people come back to the city, more jobs are recreated from the loss of small businesses, and the city returns, somewhat, back to where it was before the pandemic started.”

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More than half of Americans said they would consider living in a tiny home in a new survey as the lifestyle increases in popularity amid the pandemic

Natura one-bedroom tiny home
The Tiny Housing Co’s one-bedroom Natura tiny home.

  • Tiny homes have become popular during the coronavirus pandemic, and with this sudden surge comes new tiny home trends.
  • IPX1031, a Fidelity National Financial subsidiary, surveyed 2,006 Americans to measure the public interest in tiny housing.
  • Over half of the respondents reported that they would consider living in a tiny home, and of those who are not yet homeowners, 86% said they would consider purchasing a tiny home as their first home.
  • Of those surveyed, 72% said they would consider using a tiny home as an investment property. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Tiny homes have become undeniably popular during the coronavirus pandemic, and with this sudden surge comes new tiny home trends.

According to a survey by Fidelity National Financial subsidiary IPX1031, 56% of the 2,006 American respondents reported they would consider living in a tiny home.

Of those surveyed who are not yet homeowners, 86% said they would contemplate purchasing a tiny home as their first home and 84% of those surveyed said they would consider a tiny home as a retirement living option.

Read more: California’s housing crisis is so dire, a startup just raised $3.5 million in VC funding to drop tiny houses in people’s backyards

Affordability, efficiency, eco-friendliness, and minimalism were cited, in that order, as the four most attractive factors that the tiny home lifestyle has to offer. 

It’s no surprise the economical aspects of tiny living was listed by 65% of those surveyed as the most enticing factor of tiny living. The median price of a tiny home falls within the $30,000 to $60,000 range, while the median price of a traditional home sits at $233,400, according to IPX1031. As a result, 79% of survey respondents reported being able to afford the median price of a tiny home, while only 53% said the same for a traditional home.

Aspects like mobility and privacy fell lower on the list of attractive factors, although 54% of survey respondents said they would want a mobile home, and a home under 400 square feet.

The rental trend 

Dark Horse tiny home
The Dark Horse tiny home.

This uptick in tiny home popularity can be attributed to more than just those looking for a permanent downsize. Tiny homes have also become a popular target for tourists looking for an escape during COVID-19, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal, and tiny homemakers have now started targeting customers who want tiny units to rent out or to list on Airbnb.

As a result, 72% of respondents said they would consider using a tiny home as an investment property, with 63% of those people reporting they would use it as a long term rental unit at an average monthly rent of $900. In contrast, 37% said they would rather rent their tiny home for short term stays on platforms like Airbnb and Vrbo with an average nightly rate of $145.

According to the report’s analysis of 1,300 tiny home-related Google search keywords, tiny homes are currently the most popular in the northwest and northeast of the US.

IPX1031 conducted the survey, which was made up of 55% female and 45% male, between November 1 and 5. The median age of those surveyed was 38, and the majority of people surveyed had an income under $80,000, with 37% of respondents making under $40,000, and 46% making between $40,000 to 80,000. 

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