By Stacy M. Brown
Monica Scantlebury lived in D.C. for a decade before picking up stakes and moving to the Big Apple, where she has resided for about 11 years.
So, as Scantlebury noted, she’s no stranger to high rents.
A high school teacher for 15 years, Scantlebury has decided to leave the teaching profession and New York at the end of the month.
“It’s not sustainable,” she said of ever-escalating rents.
Outside of Manhattan, in New York City’s four other boroughs, rents are lower. However, the median rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Manhattan stands at about $4,000 per month. Scantlebury said landlords require earnings of 40-times the rent for application approvals.
“The average income needed is $160,000,” Scantlebury asserted. “If a teacher is a single person, that’s not even feasible, even at charter schools which generally pay 10 percent more.
“I have 15 years of experience, two master’s degrees, and I top out at $106,000 at a charter school. However, even with my husband’s salary, we are not at $160,000 nor close to it given he is in the dance performance industry.”
The average cost of a one-bedroom in August stands at $1,769 nationally, a 39% increase over 2021, Rent.com reported.
Two-bedroom rentals averaged $2,105 nationally this month, a 38% increase over 2021.
“If you’re interested in a single bed and a single bath, the average of such apartments is mostly around $2,000 to $2,100 here in Fairfax, Virginia,” said Dustin Fox, owner and realtor of Fox Teams Real Estate Brokers in Virginia.
“For each additional room, the rent increases by $500 on average,” Fox stated. “This information varies because of the difference in neighborhoods and amenities. The figures drop and move up but don’t really cross much of the budget.”
Fox said rental patterns revealed that current prices are comparatively lower but soared from $3,000 to $3,5000 in Fairfax last year.
“With the prevailing fluctuations in interest rates and home prices, it’s getting miserable for new home buyers to settle in their own places,” Fox continued.
“The only recommendation that can be put forward for these people is that they should hold back their expenses within strict limits and keep saving until the market cools down.”
Nate Johnson, a real estate investment expert and product manager at the leading property search site NeighborWho, offered recommendations for first-time homebuyers and current homeowners.
“My recommendation for first-time buyers is to wait and keep saving aggressively,” Johnson wrote in an email.
“For some individuals, it might make sense to move in with friends and family to save money over the next year. If their job allows for remote work, it could also make sense to move from a high-cost area to a lower-cost area that might be further away from the workplace.”
Johnson said he’s witnessed some negotiate for slightly lower rents with their landlord by locking into longer contract terms or putting more money down as a deposit.
“Another possible strategy for some renters is to rent out extra rooms on short-term rental sites like Airbnb or VRBO to help cover rent,” he said.
He added that it’s unlikely that a current homeowner would lock in a mortgage as low as what they already have.
“My recommendation for current homeowners is to stay where they are if possible,” Johnson insisted.
Joshua Haley, the founder of Moving Astute, said there are many ways to make housing more affordable.
“One is to increase the availability of units at lower rates,” Haley stated.
“Another is to provide incentives for developers to build more affordable housing. A third solution is to make it easier for people to access credit to purchase a home. Finally, increasing the supply of affordable housing will help bring down the rent cost in major cities.”