Agent’s selfie at packed open house captures madness in New York’s rental market

A video released this month depicts the madness of renting an apartment in New York right now, with tenants paying so-called “cuck money” and reports of more airbnbs in the city than people. rentals.

A viral TikTok showing a real estate agent taking a selfie with a large crowd of apartment seekers struck a nerve for its portrayal of the utter chaos currently plaguing New York’s frenetic rental market.

The video, posted May 7 by cinematographer Sarah Lou Kiernan, shows the crowd gathered outside a building in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, as a man she identifies as a real estate agent raises his phone to take a selfie with the crowd.


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The agent said he had “never seen so many people for an open house in 17 years,” Kiernan posted in his caption.

“The apartment market in Brooklyn is crazy, maybe 50 people for 1 apartment,” she wrote.

Some people who commented expressed exasperation with the state of the housing market.

“This is… very sad and infuriating,” read one of the 947 comments.

The clip captures what thousands of would-be tenants have been through in New York over the past few months as the rental market reversed from pandemic deals on offer when many residents fled the city and rents soared. historic lows, to landlords raising rents to historic highs once residents return.

In March, rents in New York rose 35% over the previous year, according to Redfin data. As rents have soared nationwide amid a spike in housing prices making home ownership unaffordable for many, rents in New York City have climbed among the fastest.

The surge has resulted in trends not seen before in the rental market, including bidding wars on rental prices – a practice once reserved for residential sales or high-end rentals that has now made its way to mainstream apartments.

This practice gave rise to the term “cuckold money” as a replacement for the practice of “key money” meaning the illegal bribes tenants would pay to agents or property managers to secure apartments. Real estate appraiser Jonathan Miller said braked that one in five rental leases in Manhattan have ended in bidding wars in the past two months.

Kiernan’s post clarified that the Greenpoint apartment the crowd had amassed to view is a rent-stabilized unit, and the regulations for this type of apartment make it illegal for a bidding war situation. The Rent Guidelines Board, which dictates how much rent can be increased on the city’s roughly one million rent-regulated apartments, recently approved up to 6 percent increases on rent-regulated apartments, the biggest increase in more than a decade under the city’s new mayor, Eric Adams, who has said he wants balance the needs of tenants with small landlords.

The pressure on the flats comes as it was revealed that there are currently more short-term rentals available through Airbnb in the five boroughs than there are regular apartments for rent, leading some to accuse the colocation giant of making the situation worse.

Airbnb denied responsibility and blamed city officials for not building enough affordable housing.

“The data is inaccurate. The real problem is that New York City simply hasn’t built enough affordable housing,” an Airbnb spokesperson said. New York Post. “That’s why the cost of housing is rising everywhere, for everyone. Rather than attacking ordinary people who use their homes to help pay bills and cover rising food and other costs, leaders must focus on building more homes for people. Airbnb wants to be part of this solution and help.

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