Maybe Don’t Move To Portland Just Yet

“We’re talking about the death of the American Dream for more than one group of people.”

Can We Make Renting Better?

Is there anything we can do as a society to make renting less onerous and stressful and expensive?

We’re Not Gonna Pay Rent … By Check

$3,017.19 a Month

Average rent prices for apartments nationwide are currently $1,109.73 a month, according to a real estate firm called Reis, but NYC remains the most expensive with average rents hitting $3,017.19 a month across the four largest boroughs (Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx). It’s insane, especially since the second most expensive market, San Francisco averages at $1,998.82 a month. The least expensive market, Oklahoma City, had rents averaging at $571.03 a month.

How to Negotiate a Lease Renewal

Last year, I moved into a giant one-bedroom with level floors, six windows, three closets, and no mice. It’s wonderful, and I love living there. This came after four years of your standard apartment nightmares: roommate tension, pest infestations, and unwelcome sexual advances from landlords. It was time to stop settling, and really like where I lived. I saw an apartment, fell in love, and after some negotiation, agreed to pay $1,325 a month for it. That’s much more than what I’d normally pay, but for once, I needed real closet space. I deserved level floors.

Then the thing that happens to most of us occurred a year later: I received a renewal lease with a drastic rent increase I was prepared to pay. First year leases are priced low to fill the unit quickly. Then landlords assume you’ll be too broke and/or lazy to move, so they increase the price, make their money back, and don’t have to paint the walls again. So far, you’re losing this game. Luckily, it really is possible to satisfy both parties, as long as you have some room to negotiate.

Where the Rents Are Soaring

New data from the real estate website Trulia shows that recent rent increases in the largest metro areas across the country may mean that buying may be a better deal than renting (if you’re the sort who wants to be a homeowner/has enough money to buy a home at the moment and qualify for a fixed-rate mortgage, which is currently at record lows).

When Half Your Income Goes to Rent

I read this story this morning about how 29 percent of households in New York City spent more than half their income on rent in 2011, compared to 26 percent in 2008, according to a report by the Community Service Society, and although I know it’s not uncommon, am still blown away when I read about four young people living together as roommates and needing to pay $1,300 to make their monthly rent.

Cheap Living in Berlin

Next American City has a very interesting post looking at Berlin’s history, and why rent there has remained so low, compared to other major cities.

Landlords of Wall Street

The Rent is Too … Well, You Know

The Supreme Court decided not to hear a case challenging New York’s rent control laws, so we’ll just have to continue our arguments about the outrageous amounts of money we pay for rent with our friends over expensive brunches and $14 cocktails.