Life is not easy for singles in New York City. Or, at least, it isn’t cheap.
While compiling a report on the best areas to live in the five boroughs for those who are not in a relationship, to be timed with Valentine’s Day, real estate listings site StreetEasy discovered what it refers to as a “singles tax.”
Rents cost an average of $14,370 more per year for people living alone in the Big Apple than for those who are shacked up with a partner, the study found. The added expense is the most in Manhattan, at $16,500, compared to $13,170 in Brooklyn and $11,100 in Queens.
One reason for the tax is that it simply cuts your rent in half to split a studio or one-bedroom with another person – but there’s more to it than that.
Single New Yorkers like to spice up their lives by residing in the hottest neighborhoods, which conveniently have the highest inventory of studios and one-bedrooms, but are also the most expensive, according to StreetEasy. The average rents in the neighborhoods with the most studios and one-bedrooms cost up to 54% more than the citywide median of $2,600, the site reported.
For example, Midtown South and the Financial District in Manhattan, along with Downtown Brooklyn, have the highest number of apartments of these sizes, according to StreetEasy. Their median rents, however, are $3,550 in Midtown South, $3,295 in FiDi and $3,022 in Downtown Brooklyn.
Relief is not necessarily on the way for New York City singles, either. When examining rent changes between December and January, real estate firm MNS found that prices in Manhattan rose for non-doorman studios, and for one-bedrooms both with and without doormen. Prices only dropped for doorman studios.
Harlem had the best deals for buildings with doormen, with an average of $2,337 for studios and $2,945 for one-bedrooms, according to MNS.
There is some hope for those who want to live with their own, independent selves in the trendy borough of Brooklyn, however.
The average rent for studios in Fort Greene dropped 4.9%, from $2,572 in December to $2,445 in January, according to MNS. The average cost of one-bedrooms in the neighborhood, meanwhile, dropped 3.4%, from $3,092 in December to $2,988 in January. Over in Bay Ridge, further out in the borough, studios and one-bedrooms were the least expensive, averaging $1,477 and $1,757, respectively.
Rents for the city’s smaller homes are rising for two reasons, noted MNS CEO Andrew Barrocas. First, salaries are also going up, driving housing prices higher along with them. Second, millennials are starting families later in life than previous generations, making the market for studios and one-bedrooms more competitive.
But while living in a small space as a couple may be cheaper, it won’t necessarily make your love life easier, Barrocas warned.
“It’s a real test: If you can survive together in an NYC studio, it has to increase your chances of making it [as a couple],” he said. “I know it did for my wife and I. Starting out, we lived in a tiny one-bedroom.”