Why Is NYC Rent So High?

New York City can get a bad reputation for being the most expensive city in the country…second behind San Francisco, depending on what you’re talking about! A lot of that has to do with rent prices. Costs add up when you’re experiencing the best attractions the city has to offer, like summer music festivals, funky food finds,  delectable coffee shops, or even just ordering in your nightly Seamless. The real kicker, though, is rent. According to Street Easy, the median rent in 2017 for Manhattan was $3150, Brooklyn was $2500, and Queens $2175. Monthly rent costs are much higher than the average US city, especially the up-front payments needed like first month’s rent (or second and third), security deposits, broker fees, and application fees.


Bedly is here, though, to make the housing process simple and affordable. They only require first month’s rent and a security deposit, so you know what you are paying for when you apply. No waiting around for your credit check to come back, only to find out you’ll need three month’s rent up front in order to rent the space. And with short-term leasing (starting out at 30 day minimum), you aren’t locked into a 12 month lease that requires an outrageous amount of monthly payments, all culminating in a $0 return on your security deposit. Basically, Bedly understands the difficulties of moving to and living in NYC, and wants to make it as easy for Bedly renters as possible!

So, why is the housing market so expensive? New York is certainly one of the oldest cities in the country, but it wasn’t too long ago that Times Square was a dangerous vacation destination and if you strayed north of 96th street, you’d be lucky to come back with all of your belongings. Read on to find out the “why” behind high rent costs in NYC!

Zoning rules. I’ve heard the term “Zoning” used countless times and still never quite understood the meaning of it. According to NYC.Gov, zoning “aims to promote an orderly pattern of development and to separate incompatible land uses, such as industrial uses and homes, to ensure a pleasant environment.” In other words, this creates neighborhoods like the Upper East Side, Bed-Stuy, Harlem, and Williamsburg as well as shopping centers like Herald Square and attempts to keep them separate (although we know very well there are apartments in and around these highly commercialized areas, implying some exceptions to the rules made throughout the years).

Each zone is divided up into a different plot of land and deemed either a residential, commercial, or manufacturing zone. The NYC zoning rules are long and detailed and include the size of buildings, which explains why buildings are being built taller (think of the highest residential building in Manhattan just south of Central Park!). When there are these particular zoning rules, it’s going to be more expensive to live in areas considered more commercial, or with less residential jurisdiction (think the East Village v. Yorkville).


Limited space. Especially in Manhattan. We’re talking a tiny island that’s only 13 miles long and 2.5 miles wide, and at this point, the only option for real estate is to build up. The problem is, over time market prices have pushed out a lot of locals, leaving them searching for affordable (yet still above average) rent prices outside of the city.

It’s true, you’ll have better luck with more affordable housing outside of Manhattan, and further outside of Brooklyn and Queens. And if your life doesn’t involve daily to-do’s in those boroughs, I encourage you to take advantage and live where you grind! But for around 4 million people who travel daily onto the island, you know what they say – you’re only as happy as your commute.

The good news? Bedly has found apartments in some of the best neighborhoods all over NYC, so you don’t have to wonder where the right place to live is. Whether it’s Brooklyn, Jersey City, or Manhattan, they’ve got you covered with beautiful, simplified spaces at affordable rates.


Expensive construction costs. You know that scaffolding that lines the city sidewalks and frustratingly obstructs the views of beautiful brownstones and sleek buildings? Well, it just so happens that it’s not because the city is so old that it’s falling apart (see: Rome, Paris, London, and not nearly as much scaffolding as New York). It’s actually because New York City has super strict laws that require frequent inspections, so the romantic city sights are often interrupted by the sounds of drills and visions of construction.

High property taxes.  This one doesn’t need much of an explanation, but according to Business Insider, NYC has the second highest property tax in the nation, which means renters are paying a portion of that every month. High property taxes = high rent.

Rent control raises your rent if you’re not in a rent-controlled apartment. Remember on Friends how Monica lives in her grandma’s old apartment? Remember how nice and big (okay, I’ve never been in an apartment THAT big in the city) it was? Well, she got a deal because it was rent-controlled.

Rent typically gets jacked up every year, that is, unless you’re in a rent-controlled apartment. And unless you have a family member who has passed their apartment down amongst generations or marry someone who has, you’re likely never going to experience the joys of an NYC apartment at an affordable rate.


Bedly wants you to make the most of living in arguably the greatest city in the world. There’s a lot to consider when moving here, and while finances are important, Bedly doesn’t think they should hold you back. That’s why they keep the finances simple by only requiring first month’s rent and security deposit, leaving you time to find your side hustle and earn some extra cash, find the best bars for your buck, or discover your new favorite budget workout.

Photo credit in order of appearance: Buzzfeed, Curve Your Enthusiasm, Up Out, On Rad Pad


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