Where Have All the Bargains Gone? Spiraling Rents and Wall Street Boom Lead Market Upward

The hit musical Rent burst onto Broadway last year amid unanimous praise for its originality and high-

energy performances. This tale of down-and-out New Yorkers struggling to pay the rent while they face issues of life and death has turned out to be more than just the anthem of a new generation. In addition to turning Broadway on its ear with its rock and roll score and contemporary perspective, Rent has turned out to be the forerunner of a major real estate trend.

Within the past year, residential rents in Manhattan have hit an all-time high, with vacancy rates at rock bottom. Stories abound of choosy landlords demanding three months rent as a security deposit and apartments being snapped up before they make it to the open market. The heady days of the 1980s have definitely returned when it comes to the rental market. With studio apartments renting for $1,500 a month and one-bedrooms at $2,000, the shape of the New York real estate market has undergone a dramatic change recently.

Even the weekend rental market has gone through the roof as beach-bound Manhattanites sign seasonal rentals in the Hamptons for upwards of $50,000what a bargain for three months in the sun.

The Wallstreet Factor

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