This is the #1 Feature New Yorkers Want in Their Next Apartment

tiny laundry room closet

Design: Emily Henderson, Photo: Tessa Neustadt for EHD

Priorities change all the time. Things that were important to us once don't seem as crucial as we get older, evolve, or just change our minds. A once-in-a-lifetime pandemic can have the same effect, causing us to rethink our current plans. Our living situation may be at the top of that list, after spending over a year at home.

That's what's top of mind for NYC renters in their 2021 apartment searches. The old New York attitude used to be that you can adjust to a small or quirky apartment, as you'd spend most of your time working and experiencing the city anyway. After over a year spent working and living at home, that idea has gone out the window. According to new research from StreetEasy, the pandemic has caused New Yorkers to reconsider what they want in a future apartment after spending so much time stuck in tiny apartments.

The number one want on the list? An in-unit washer and dryer.

"Last year, an in-unit washer/dryer dethroned ‘pets allowed’ as the most desired amenity, and it’s kept its title," experts at StreetEasy explain.

Other new priorities include central air conditioning (an improvement over window units), which entered the top ten list of amenities for the first time. There were also seven times more searches for private outdoor space compared to shared roofs or courtyards after a year spent inside, proving that not all outdoor space is created equal.

After a year of unprecedented change, tenants in the city are looking for rentals in neighborhoods that are lively and filled with open businesses.

"Neighborhoods of desire are where there is walking traffic and retail operators opened for business," Reba Miller, Senior Global Sales Executive and Associate Real Estate Broker at Berkshires Hathaway, explains.

The NYC rental market has definitely evolved since the beginning of the pandemic.

"Prior to COVID seems like years ago," Miller says. "It’s hard to generalize, but landlords of large rental buildings have been hit the hardest. Where landlords could once rent at a premium for three roommates to share [at about $2,000 each] a $5,500-$6,000 convertible three-bedroom, that pool of tenants rarely exists. So the average person or couple wants that same apartment [now] for $4,000 with three to four months free."

So how to get that apartment of your dreams?

"A strong broker can be most helpful during these challenging times," Miller says.

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