New York City real estate experts are encouraging New York City renters who are thinking about relocating to brave the cold and look for a place now.
“Winter, spring, summer, fall, I always think renting a home in [the city] is a wonderful experience,” Citi Habitats president Gary Malin, said. But now is “a great time for a tenant to be out in the market place because you’re more in control than you would be during the summer months.”
“There is less turnover in the winter, which creates less housing options,” added Justin Schuss, founder of RentalEngine.com. “That being said, “I still believe the pros outweigh the cons to rent around this time of year.”
Here are five reasons why they said now is the time to look for a new place to rent:
1. There’s less competition. There are less people out and about during the winter, so there are less people looking to relocate, Malin said. “You don’t have to worry about 50 people looking at the same apartment,” he added, meaning that “you have some time to mull it over for a bit.”
Schuss added that students and recent grads are still locked into their one-year leases right now. “May to September is often the time that college grads and MBAs are looking to find a roof before they start their new job,” he said. “This creates a cyle of those individuals considering new housing options that same time each year.”
2. Inventory is good. Inventory numbers are higher in Manhattan than last year, at 1.62% last month, up from 1.36% in January 2013, according to Citi Habitats. “So people have a little more selection,” Malin said.
3. Pricing is in your favor. “Owners know that if they don’t rent apartments within the next week or two, maybe their apartment is going to sit on the market for a little longer,” Malin explained, “and maybe they don’t want those empty apartments.”
4. Landlords will negotiate. “They want to entice customers to get into their buildings, so they offer more concessions,” Malin said. For example, they may offer deals on rent and broker fees. In January, 13% of rentals brokered by Citi Habitats came with a free month’s rent and/or a break on the broker fee. Schuss agreed: “With less interest in their properties, owners often become more negotiable with lower monthly rents and a willingness to pay broker fees,” he said.
5. It is always good to look. Malin recommends exposing yourself to something new — whether it’s a new neighborhood or a different kind of building. “Get out and look, it just exposes you to what’s really going on” in the market, he said. “A lot of time people end up getting very lazy and they live in the same place for a number of years.”