From The LES Free Press, written by students in the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism:
The apartment is tiny. None of its three bedrooms holds a bed bigger than a twin. But it’s renovated, clean, and it’s in the middle of the fast-moving Lower East Side – the perfect place for three newly-minted Yale graduates to make their first mark on the city. Apartment hunters Andrew Cedotal, Allison Guy and Danielle La Rocco are on the fence, however. For almost $3,300 a month, they expect more space.
“It’s a great apartment, but it’s a little smaller than we’re looking for,” La Rocco says to the agent showing the place.
What happens next is something that would have been unheard of even a year ago, but that real estate experts say is becoming more common: the agent offers to broker a better deal if the three will take the apartment today. Within minutes, the trio has reduced their rent by a few hundred dollars a month, and La Rocco is dispatched to get a money order while the other two fill out applications. The deal is done.
Do episodes like this mean Manhattan’s notoriously bullish rental market is softening? Daniel Baum, a broker who runs the Real Estate Group, an industry organization that puts out an analysis of Manhattan rental prices each month, says yes.