Is a new apartment on your New Year’s resolution list? If so, you’ve probably already started poking around — and you may have noticed that things look a little different out there. (So long, cheap Pennsport pad, you will be missed!) Whether you’re renting your first apartment in Philly or you’re a seasoned vet, here’s what you need to know in 2016.
1. It’s going to cost more
Rents are going up across the country, with urban markets seeing the biggest increases. “Cities are definitely feeling the brunt of it since they are the more desirable locations for most people to live both in terms of entertainment options and job opportunities,” says Niccole Schreck, Senior Brand Manager at Rent.com. “Most residents are paying upwards of 40 percent of their income on rent —10 percent more than the recommended 30 percent.”
2. But there are still deals
For the budget-conscious renter, the 2016 Philly market still has some steals. “You can still find very good deals throughout Philly, but some notable neighborhoods that have nice bargains are Point Breeze and Fishtown,” says Rich Lauletta, Chief Marketing Officer for The Philly Apartment Co., a free apartment match-making service for renters. “Opposite ends of the city, but both have rent prices that are undervalued compared to what that same home would be selling for.”
Realtor Katherine Cohen Jordan and her partner, Chad Jordan, also recommend South Philly and Fishtown to bargain hunters. “Passyunk Square is a great area to find affordable rentals. With a walking score of 97 and tons of great bars and restaurants you can't go wrong,” they say. “The Frankford Corridor is also a really great spot to rent right now. Access to fantastic live music, bars, restaurants, art galleries — you name it. Both neighborhoods are a walker’s or biker’s paradise.”
3. Posh pads await
Price not a problem? If you’re ready to upgrade, 2016 Philadelphia has the luxe accommodations you’re looking for. “We're seeing a lot of brand-new apartment buildings being built where renters are OK paying record-high rent prices for Philly in return for luxury residences and top-notch amenities,” says Lauletta. On his worth-it list: 640 Lofts (pool, roof deck, yoga studio) 2116 Chestnut (green roof, club room, movie theater) and The Granary.
The help desk:
If you’re moving, The Philly Apartment Co. might be able to help – for free (landlords pay for the service, renters enjoy it). “On their own, a renter may waste a lot of time calling on apartments that are no longer available,” says Lauletta. “We work with all properties, from a single condo or townhouse all the way up to the amenity-filled high-rises and apartment communities. Whatever the renter is looking for, we have it.”
Three ways to save:
If a Rittenhouse rental isn’t in the budget, we hear you. Here are three sneaky ways to save a few bucks, courtesy of Niccole Schreck of Rent.com.
• “Some property managers will agree to a lower rate for a longer lease term. If you love the apartment, consider a longer lease.”
• “Price, quality and location: choose two. If you want to save money, you’ll have to sacrifice quality or location.”
• “Shop around for moving companies, and try to move during the week — it’s less busy than the weekends.”