The American painter Georgia O’Keeffe famously said that “one cannot paint New York, as it is rather felt.” To a similar sentiment, we are not going to be able to cover all of NYC on this edition of Market Focus, but do hope to bring you a snapshot and convey just how much our assignees love living in The Big Apple. Walk the streets and you’ll feel the intoxicating international energy of 8 million people, 3 million of which are immigrants speaking 800 different languages. Culture, food, and entertainment here is unlike anywhere else, and NYC does a great job balancing world-class nightlife with family fun and wonderful schools. Join us on this edition of Market Focus as we head to New York City!

Rental Trends

Like most large US cities, the pandemic severely affected the NYC rental market. Rental rates fell and inventory increased as many left the city for some personal space. This breakup proved to be short lived, as the market roared back in 2021. Since last year, rental rates have increased 22% and inventory has shrunk back to pre-pandemic levels. Making things more complicated, these rates are much more dramatic in upscale properties and properties with a doorman. Perhaps more than ever in New York, it is critical to work with your Destination Services Consultant (DSC) who will have the expertise as well as established relationships to help you find your new home.

Where to Live

For singles and young assignees, you could not be in a better city to socialize, network, and be around some of the best dining and entertainment in the world. Many of our assignees decide on an apartment in the East Village. The birthplace of punk rock hasn’t lost all of its cool to gentrification, and is still loaded with speakeasies, dives, and record stores. 1 bedrooms run around $3,200 USD. A neighborhood that has also seen quite a bit of popularity recently with young professionals has been Hell’s Kitchen, with a thriving LGBTQ scene and one of the top flea markets in the city. 1 bedrooms run around $3,800 USD.

Those looking for a bit more upscale vibe can look to the Upper West Side, offering plenty of small local businesses and restaurants turned cultural institutions. This is a great option for families and has access to fantastic parks. 1 bedrooms run around $4,200 USD and 2 bedrooms around $5,400 USD. The Upper East Side is not only a place for Gossip Girls and socialites, but is a great spot for assignees with families as well. The area is stocked with world-class museums, access to Central Park, and great schools both public and private. 2 bedrooms run around $5,500 USD.

Now this edition is going to be very much Manhattan-centric however we would be remiss not to mention that many families choose to live in Brooklyn or the nearby suburbs, and there are quite a few great options. Just north you’ll find Westchester, which offers great parks and schools and is easily accessible to Manhattan by commuter rail. The northeastern suburbs in Connecticut offer a luxurious lifestyle nearby to the city. Last but certainly not least we look west to New Jersey, offering plenty of family-friendly cities like Hoboken and Montclair. Pricing varies greatly by state and city.

Insider Tips

Ah, the broker fee…the highly controversial process is here to stay, at least for now. Essentially, the broker’s duty is to assist the tenant in navigating a complex NYC rental market; short drafting listings, organizing viewings, and advocating for their tenant to secure a rental. While this is a great help to renters, it is important to understand that this service comes at an additional cost to renters (up to 15% of the annual rent due before the renter gets the keys) and is required by most properties. Your DSC is a great resource to get the most from your broker.

NYC has become one of many global cities that has been implementing a vaccine passport in order to access many of the city’s amenities, like indoor dining, fitness, and entertainment. At the time of this article, the “Key to NYC” policy requires individuals 12 and older to be fully vaccinated, and children ages 5 to 11 to have received a single vaccine dose.

Local Insights

It goes without saying that NYC has something for everyone. You can be here for years and still not scratch the surface of the five boroughs and the thousands of things to do. Here are a few recommendations from our DSCs to get you started on your New York journey!

In a place where driving is certainly not recommended, and you can miss quite a bit traveling completely by subway, be sure to explore your neighborhood by foot. The average New Yorker walks anywhere from two to five miles each day. It is not only one of the best ways to get around, but it is the best way to get acquainted to your neighborhood. Find your favorite coffeeshop, park, and of course your favorite bagel stop, but also look for the treasures that make your neighborhood unique. Elevated trails like the High-Line on the West Side, a beautiful bridge in Williamsburg, and incredible street art in Bushwick and Brooklyn all await for you to discover.

Speaking of bagels, we are getting hungry! Everyone has to eat, but those in NYC are lucky enough to be eating in one of the best food cities in the world. There are a total of 23,000 restaurants and 56 Michelin stars in NYC. Be sure to hit the classics like cheesecake, pizza, and pastrami, but remember that this is a city of immigrants so incredible cooking from around the world is just as easy to find. Our secret tip? The best Italian food is not in Little Italy, but instead you’ll find it a bit further north in the Bronx…shhh!

Another unique aspect of NYC is that despite being a concrete jungle, it is quite easy to disappear in nature. We all know Central Park for its bike trails and sprawling lawns, but head to the north side of the park to find a number of hiking trails leading through the woods, and even a few hidden waterfalls! Another one of our favorites is taking the ferry to Governor’s Island. This 172-acre island in the middle of the New York Harbor is great for biking, gardens, lawn games, and bonfires.

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