Last week, Streeteasy reported that rents in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens reached an all-time high in July, with median rents at $2,980, $2,453, and $1,996, respectively. That news was depressing enough, but today the Times followed up with a Real Estate Rich Person piece on individuals who rent $20K/month lofts in NoHo, and I have added all of them to the list of people I'd like to send champagne skydiving with a faulty parachute.
Indeed, it appears wealthy New Yorkers who prefer not to purchase one or several apartments due to their commitment issues are instead opting for "high-end rentals," since they make it easier for them to jet off to Bali or Zurich or the nice part of Florida or wherever rich people go. "For these world travelers, an ultraluxury rental is the sweet spot between the transience of a hotel and the commitment of a co-op or condo purchase," Gary Malin, president of CitiHabitats, told the Times. After all, as another real estate agent told the paper, "[T]he future is uncertain for a lot of these renters," just like the unknown futures for all of the NYC renters on the brink of eviction!
These so-called "ultraluxury rentals" include a $22K-a-month loft on Crosby Street, a $75K/month apartment at the Pierre Hotel on East 61st Street, and an $80K/month furnished rental on Park Avenue. One fancy rental on Fifth Avenue costs $100K/month, but it comes with a housekeeper, a gardener, and weekly flower deliveries, so it really evens out.
When Allan Rothstein decided to rent his NoHo loft on Crosby Street a few years ago, the $22,000-a-month price tag wasn’t a major concern.
For Mr. Rothstein, a venture capitalist and a partner of gin-maker Empire Spirits Project, the loft offered more than just 2,400 square feet of light-filled living space — it offered freedom. “Flexibility is important to me,” he said. “As a renter, I have the ability to up and leave if I choose.”
Apparently people "save" money by renting fancy apartments in the short-term instead of plunking down down payments and mortgages on a $15 million purchase, though that only really works if you aren't planning to flush $30K/month down the $10K toilet over the long term, or if you have so much money that flushin' cash is fun. Either way, considering how difficult it is to get developers to put affordable housing units that are actually affordable on the market, it's a tad bit painful to read about folks who can plunk down what some people make in a year on monthly rent because of the "freedom." This is particularly true if those apartments are at all contributing to the across-the-board median rent increases that made my landlord think it was cool to kick my rent up $100/month this year even after my ceiling caved in.
At least people who buy multimillion dollar apartments in New York pay taxes on them sometimes.