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statistics porn
July 30, 2003 2:23 PM   Subscribe

people are leaving san francisco in droves? craigslist published a graph that shows a huge increase in ads for new apartments for rent since jan. 1, 2001. (The recurring sharp dips correspond to the thanksgiving and christmas holidays.) (yes, via boingboing.)
posted by crunchland (71 comments total)

 
well, new york's already been hit.
posted by quonsar at 2:26 PM on July 30, 2003


i've been watching that graph for a long time, and the curve seems to reflect the number of apartments on the market.
what hasn't changed much is the asking price for apartments, but at least some landlords are now willing to haggle, or at least compromise on things like pets or painting.
posted by dolface at 2:32 PM on July 30, 2003


An off-base conclusion to form from this graph, which (a) reflects only rentals, (b) reflects rentals posted on Craig's List (and not those on Metrorent, et al.), and (c) fails to track property values or monthly rental rates. There are plenty of residents here. But when a vacancy rate shoots up from around 1% (1999) to about 5% right now, it inevitably creates a rental market (particularly with rental prices having remained relatively unchanging over the past year).
posted by ed at 2:33 PM on July 30, 2003


well, you have the continued exodus of dotcommers running away from the high rents that they created and can no longer afford. at the same time, you have all those giant development projects of overpriced lofts that keep on going even though their potential customers are long gone.
posted by badstone at 2:37 PM on July 30, 2003


This topic really hits home, if you know what I mean.
posted by strangeleftydoublethink at 2:45 PM on July 30, 2003


Well, couldn't it simply reflect an increase of the rental marketshare cornered by Craig's list? Wouldn't this jive better with rents not dropping?
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 2:48 PM on July 30, 2003


Welcome to Loserville, USA
posted by gluechunk at 2:54 PM on July 30, 2003


couple of things - I've noticed that craigslist is more over-run with multiple postings of the same property than ever before. If you type in your search criteria, you may get a hundred hits but probably less than 30 of them are unique. Landlords have learned that you have to keep your property near the top of the list, so they post it fresh, daily.

The other exodus that is hitting this city is made up of people like me. I didn't lose my job in the crash, but I negotiated my salary during the heady days of 1999. And while the rental market has softened, the buying market is still hotter than ever. My family is ready to buy our first home, but with 2 bedrooms, 1 baths in the heart of the fog belt going for over 600,000 --- well.... East Bay, here I come.
posted by pejamo at 3:01 PM on July 30, 2003


I don't know, but something tells me most of them are moving to Canada. I wonder why.
posted by 111 at 3:04 PM on July 30, 2003


I don't know, but something tells me most of them are moving to Canada. I wonder why.

They're tired of paying $2,000 in monthly rent for a squalid one-bedroom?

That'd be my guess.
posted by mathowie at 3:07 PM on July 30, 2003


The Census Bureau's wonderful American Factfinder site reports an 11,000 person drop in the population of SF from July 2001 to July 2002.


BTW, it's an incredible web site with a ton of info you can sift through from the national to the block level!
posted by jasper411 at 3:16 PM on July 30, 2003


Matt, that may well be, but I suspect they may have other reasons as well. Anyway, SF isn't a normal city.
posted by 111 at 3:27 PM on July 30, 2003


111, no it's not, and i, for one, am pretty darn happy about that.
posted by dolface at 3:30 PM on July 30, 2003


I ran 111's comments through a translator and it came out with this:

"SF has a lot of gay people, who make me uncomfortable. It isn't a normal city."
posted by strangeleftydoublethink at 3:30 PM on July 30, 2003


Anyway, SF isn't a normal city.

Thank heaven for small mercies -- of all kinds.

By the way -- what's a normal city? If you don't mind my asking?
posted by poorhouse at 3:35 PM on July 30, 2003


can you all take 111's bigotry somewhere else?
posted by badstone at 3:41 PM on July 30, 2003


wouldn't the number of rentals tend to go up during the summer anyway?

btw, we negotiated our overpriced berkeley rent down almost $200, starting this month.
posted by _sirmissalot_ at 3:43 PM on July 30, 2003


111's comment was in response to matts comment which was in regards to rent rates. SF is not a normal city when it comes to rent rates in fact it either the highest or second highest.
posted by stbalbach at 3:51 PM on July 30, 2003


SF is not a normal city when it comes to rent rates in fact it either the highest or second highest.

Yep, that's right, and it's also got The Gay™
posted by mathowie at 3:55 PM on July 30, 2003


"By the way -- what's a normal city? If you don't mind my asking?"

This is Normal.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 3:57 PM on July 30, 2003


111's comment was in response to matts comment which was in regards to rent rates. SF is not a normal city when it comes to rent rates in fact it either the highest or second highest.

Oh, I thought 111 was hinting that people were fleeing SF because they were repulsed at the sight of all those grown men kissing. I shouldn't let comments from other threads bleed into my interpretation of vague comments ("SF isn't normal") of newer threads. Silly me.
posted by strangeleftydoublethink at 4:00 PM on July 30, 2003


Oh, and this is also Normal.

In case you hadn't had your fill of Normalcy yet.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 4:02 PM on July 30, 2003


_sirmissalot_ -
didn't your science teacher teach you to read the labels on graphs? :)
posted by badstone at 4:05 PM on July 30, 2003


There you go Matt and stbalbach. Also yes, it's got the Gay! I did leave it open-ended on purpose so that people would bring up their own little conclusions.
poorhouse, Geneva is a normal city. If you're normal, that is.
posted by 111 at 4:14 PM on July 30, 2003


Pejamo's got a point. I think I'm leaving the Bay Area because the rents just aren't keeping pace with the decline, and because it'll be yeeears before I can afford to buy a house here. I'll miss the weather, though.

Also: can we all just not feed 111? Seriously, it's more attention than s/he deserves.
posted by blissbat at 4:27 PM on July 30, 2003


This is Normal too.
jasper411, the Factfinder site is great. Thanks.
posted by TimeFactor at 4:43 PM on July 30, 2003


(aside)
Okay people, WE GET IT that you don't like 111's stance on the gay issue. Let it drop except in the threads where it shows up. You all are acting like children. Can't he have an opinion about something ELSE besides his viewpoints on gay people? I think it's fairly obvious he was remarking that SF is different economically-with the large boom & bust. If you people continue to harangue anyone with a different opinion than ours, we're no better than the ultra-right-wing blogs where everyone sits around and agrees with each other and no other viewpoints are offered. Is that what you want? Do you think insulting him is going to get him to change his mind? People, grow up.
(/aside)

SF is losing people because there isn't any work. And renters can more easily leave than owners, so they are. However, the housing buying market is softening too, so I think buyers are finally leaving the bay area, too.
posted by aacheson at 4:48 PM on July 30, 2003


didn't your science teacher teach you to read the labels on graphs? :)

sometimes i feel rather stupid.
posted by _sirmissalot_ at 4:57 PM on July 30, 2003


so, the question is, will landlords wise up and lower rents? or, out of fear of rent control, are they going to sit on empty units and wait for another bubble to come along?

(/waiting patiently for my shiny new loft workspace in potrero hill for $1000/month)
posted by badstone at 4:57 PM on July 30, 2003


i'm moving away from san francisco come November, I think, barring something incredible happening. I finally quit my job, and even though I love this city a lot, sometimes I feel kinda silly paying what amounts to an additional $300 a month (which yeah, i suppose i can't afford anymore) just to live somewhere where i *could* go out and enjoy all sorts of lovely places without having to drive. i mean, it makes you feel guilty about staying in on Sunday nights, when, uh, you're living in this city to go out and party.

maybe i just need a heavier dose of andrew w.k.

NEVER FEAR, AMERICA! I'M BRINGING THE PARTY TO YOUR TOWN. FISHFUCKER AMERICA TOUR 2004 ... COMING SOON!!!!

oh hey, as a side note, this unemployed thing means i'm free for daytime pickup pink slip soccer. anyone? anyone? maybe suggest some volunteer opportunities that you had fun doing?
posted by fishfucker at 5:38 PM on July 30, 2003


I don't know, but something tells me most of them are moving to Canada. I wonder why.

They're tired of paying $2,000 in monthly rent for a squalid one-bedroom?

Heh, wait till they see what rent costs in Toronto.
posted by bobo123 at 5:41 PM on July 30, 2003


oh, and i should add beyond my own sob story, that i agree with mostly what's been posted here already. Prices haven't yet started to drop at all: entry level studios are still $750 minimum (in the "bad" part of town) and 1 bedrooms still seem to hover around the $1250 range. The change, which this trendline may or may not be accurately depicting (craigslist has become more and more popular over the timespan shown in the graph, which could account for the additional postings, not to mention the habit of reposting, which perhaps is not accounted for by the graphing software): there are more vacancies here. When I moved here -- and this was only a year or so ago -- if you saw a "For Rent" sign, it was a rare sighting. Two or three years ago, there were tales of 20 people showing up FOR ANY OPENING, resumes and credit ratings in hand. Now "For Rent" signs are a regular occurence in almost every neighborhood -- I've seen them from the Tendernob to the Mission to the Marina.

so yeah, you have more options, but landlords seem real reluctant to drop the prices any.

for what it's worth, my landlords are really really cool, and actually recalculate the value of the apartment according to current market rates every 6 months -- of course, i live in non-traditional housing (it's loft-like, shared bathroom, shared showers. Not for everyone, but I can live on my own in a fairly large -- 350 sq ft or so -- space for less than it costs to live in a studio.)
posted by fishfucker at 5:49 PM on July 30, 2003


aacheson, don't be silly, of COURSE 111 was referencing SF's homsexual population. His first comment was "they're all moving to Canada, I wonder why" (hint: where gay marriage was recently legalized), and when Matt failed to take the bait, he restated his point of view with the "other reasons" comment, and then finally the "not a normal city" comment. He's a bigot/homophobe, and for you to say "it's fairly obvious he was remarking that SF is different economically" betrays only that you weren't paying attention to his comments. No one is berating him for things he's said in other threads, or for his general anti-gay stance, but just for comments he made here in this thread.
posted by jonson at 5:50 PM on July 30, 2003


nonetheless, if you want to reiterate for 111 just what a bastard normal people consider him to be... er I mean disagree with his position, then join in the fun over here, where it's actually sort of the point of the thread. leave this thread for us to whine about SF.
posted by badstone at 6:00 PM on July 30, 2003


Ahhh, it's nice to feel the creative artist vibe returning to this city. It's nice to see the SlumLords taking a bath in all this. No longer do you have to roam around for hours looking for parking. And no longer are you having to deal with waiting lists for apartments that allow pets.

Funny how it was so necessary for the Slum Lords to have each tenant pass some credit/popularity check back 'then' but now how they'll take your cash or even give you the first month free.

I will miss my friends who have moved, but I won't miss the greed-mongers who came here just to pan for gold. See ya when Nanotech takes off (hopefully not).
posted by jackspace at 6:09 PM on July 30, 2003


people are leaving san francisco in droves?

Yup, and it's not the 'San Francisco' Bay Area anymore: Census Bureau Renames Region to 'San Jose Metro Area'
posted by msacheson at 6:24 PM on July 30, 2003


people are leaving san francisco in droves

The question I have is, how can they afford to leave in droves? Drove rides are expensive!
posted by kindall at 6:39 PM on July 30, 2003


craigslist has become more and more popular over the timespan shown in the graph, which could account for the additional postings, not to mention the habit of reposting, which perhaps is not accounted for by the graphing software

Given that the other two aspects -- subleasing and apartments to share -- which have stayed relatively steady over time, one might think that if the growth had to do with the website's popularity, they'd reflect the increase the same way... unless sfo isn't a popular place to sublease or apartment share?
posted by crunchland at 6:55 PM on July 30, 2003


Heh, wait till they see what rent costs in Toronto

C$2500-3000 will get you far more than a squalid one-bedroom. My wife's-but-before-we-were-hitched perfectly nice 1br apartment at Yonge and St. Clair cost a lot less than that in 2000, and her large, sunny bachelor in the same building was only $C800 or so.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:56 PM on July 30, 2003


Interesting points about the reposting habits of landlords and the possible effects this has on the climb. Based on the wording on the page, I'd say these are raw posting numbers. I don't know if craigslist attempts to kill duplicates, but if they do, they might have used that filtered total for the graph.

Oh, and yay gnuplot. The Chevy Cavalier of graph software.
posted by jmcmurry at 7:51 PM on July 30, 2003


We left San Francisco in October of 2002, and moved to Austin, Texas. I have friends and family here, and we were able to buy a good sized house with a nice yard in a decent neighborhood for less than half of what a one bedroom apartment was going for in the Richmond district of SF. We decided it was time to go because we were just sick of killing ourselves at work all the time just to live. Austin is a pretty nice town - not all the amenities of a coastal city, but very cool in its own way. I think we're staying.

(And before anyone starts talking the smack about Bush, take a look at where Nixon and Reagan came from...)
posted by majcher at 9:11 PM on July 30, 2003


Contrary to popular belief, President Bush is a carpetbagger from Connecticut.
posted by crunchland at 9:26 PM on July 30, 2003


Contrary to popular belief, President Bush is a carpetbagger from Connecticut.

Whoa that was a scary picture of Bush. It looked really 3-D for some reason, like he was going to jump out at me from my monitor.
posted by gyc at 9:45 PM on July 30, 2003


I think it's just the old people leaving... at least, that what MeFi is telling me:
posted by damclean2 at 10:39 PM on July 30, 2003


Statistics and CL aside, all you have to do is walk around this city and try not to go down a block that has a "for rent" sign. Obviously there's been an exodus of sorts. Bittersweet. Good that rents are coming down a little, sad to see friends move away.

Also, I've renegotiated my rent down twice over the past year. And the cat that my lease says I'm not supposed to have - let's just say I'm not worried about that anymore.
posted by quadog at 1:37 AM on July 31, 2003


It's because they're all going to.. LOS ANGELES! Everyone knows Los Angeles is hella better than San Francisco, the rents are better, and there are more jobs open too! So everyone.. come on down to New Madrid.. er, I mean LOS ANGELES!
posted by wackybrit at 3:46 AM on July 31, 2003


It's funny. When I found out how much my friend's parents' paid for a house in New Jersey, I realized they could sell the house, buy a comparable one here (in Michigan), and still have enough money left to live pretty well for about ten years -- just from that amount. And it wasn't a big house, either.
posted by dagnyscott at 6:48 AM on July 31, 2003


I'm considering a move to either Portland, Vancouver, or San Fancisco. The big puzzler seems to be this: is economic depression good for the creative activity of a city, or does it do damage to every scene, financial or no?

Will the Dot commers leave behind only the city that I hoped for anyway, or will their exodus stain the city with thier dust cloud?
posted by Pinwheel at 7:32 AM on July 31, 2003


A major reason the landlords aren't lowering rent is because of the crazy rent control in SF. If they get someone in at a cheap rent during a bad time, they can't really raise the rent in the future to even cover the rising taxes and costs of fixing the place up, and the person can stay there for the rest of their natural born life. Eviction is close to impossible, the amount that rents can be raised is a really small percentage, and the landlord's rights are very restricted.

So, I think that many of them are just holding out, hoping to get someone at a higher rent and willing to take the loss, because in the long term, it's really the only way to make money on their investment. And people, that's what rental properties are...investments. And strident rent control like exists in Berkeley and SF doesn't really allow them to make money on their investments. That's probably one of the major reasons rents aren't falling fast.

I know...taking the side of a landlord isn't a popular one....

Pinwheel, just out of curiosity, what exactly was so awful about those dot commers?
posted by aacheson at 8:52 AM on July 31, 2003


Pinwheel, just out of curiosity, what exactly was so awful about those dot commers?

Ok, I was being overly general and judgemental. But still, I hear enough complaint along these lines to make me think about a glut of (tech or otherwise) business and its relation to the quality of life in any given city.
posted by Pinwheel at 8:59 AM on July 31, 2003


It's not just San Francisco. New York and Boston are also feeling the pinch, as far too many talented young people vie for fewer jobs in their fields. I've lived in Boston for the past 9 years (with 1 year in NYC), and I've had enough of the fleecing. Even though rents are stabalizing, or in some (rare) cases going down (usually on the outskirts of the city center), it's still to high to justify staying.

There's this mythology that when you live in New York or Boston or San Francisco, your rents are higher, but your pay is proportionally higher so it all evens out. It's just not true for most people, however. If you're going into a legal practice, graduating from an Ivy with a 3.5+ GPA and law review under your belt, then sure, New York firms will probably pay you far more than firms in Kentucky. But for less stratospheric positions, you're getting paid basically the same amount as everyone else. The difference is, people in the midwest are paying $500/mo. for their rent, while I've had to pay $1200/mo. for the luxury of living in a "major" US city. That was fine for a time. But as I grow older, I realize that I'm not saving anything, let alone paying back the debts I've accumulated through college, car loans, etc., and the benefits of living in a city wear thin every time I have to pay that rent check.

So I'm leaving... on a jetplane... don't know if I'll be back again... etc. Until urban landlords quit their bloodletting ways, there will simply be no way a middle or lower-class citizen can ever build any equity. Perhaps if enough leave, and the cities fall back into the crime and squalor they once had, I might come back -- but it's unlikely, since there still plenty of lawyers and i-bankers to fill those lofts. New York, for example, is turning into a city of millionaires. I remember reading an article during the boom years about San Francisco being so expensive they were having problems filling the "regular jobs" that keep a city going -- the firemen, police, corner-store cashier, etc.

I just hope the landlords start defaulting en masse on their over-extended, over-priced properties.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 8:59 AM on July 31, 2003


Civil Disobedient: When you consider how much more expensive buying is than renting in the coastal metro areas, I imagine it will take quite a while for rents to really recede. By many measures, a person would be crazy to buy a house and pay $3000-$5000/month when s/he could rent for a third to a half of that.
posted by trharlan at 9:14 AM on July 31, 2003


A major reason the landlords aren't lowering rent is because of the crazy rent control in SF. If they get someone in at a cheap rent during a bad time, they can't really raise the rent in the future to even cover the rising taxes and costs of fixing the place up, and the person can stay there for the rest of their natural born life.

Thanks to crazy rent control, I've been able to stay in a nice two bedroom apartment (with, currently, one roommate) in Pacific Heights since August 1995. Clearly I can never move.

I don't feel sorry for landlords, though. During the boom our landlord tried very aggressively to kick us out, and only quit with they lost a lawsuit.

The landlord's never painted the apartment, and only does half-ass repairs. We had water damage in the kitchen, and instead of replacing the early-1980s linoluem, he only replaced the damaged area, with a completely different pattern. And when the 1980s-era washer crapped out, he replaced it with another vintage model that sticks out of the closet and blocks the back door.

One of the issues in our lawsuit was that there wasn't any heat in the apartment, and on the witness stand the property manager suggested we use the kitchen stove for heat. After the lawsuit they installed baseboard heaters but did not install the wiring to them.

So, boo fucking hoo for the landlords.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:17 AM on July 31, 2003


Come to sunny Los Angeles, because we need more flakes...
posted by inpHilltr8r at 10:35 AM on July 31, 2003


people in the midwest are paying $500/mo. for their rent, while I've had to pay $1200/mo. for the luxury of living in a "major" US city.

Man... this is another reminder of why I love living in Houston, Texas.

I live in a really cool neighborhood, in the middle of the city, and I have an "efficiency" (really more like a small 1-bedroom) for $525/mo. It's not the nicest complex in the world, and it doesn't have a ton of amenities, but it is eminently reasonable for what I pay. (It's not a run-down place or anything, by any standards.)

Bigger 1 BR's tend to run $600-700, depending on what else you want (and these are in the cool, nice parts of town. You want to live further out, it just gets cheaper).

A friend of mine who's living in a luxury apartment for a few months (since he needed a very short-term lease) is paying $800/mo. for a 1-BR with a ton of amenities. Very nice place. Houston's the place to be if you're looking for big city / reasonable rent.
posted by nath at 11:50 AM on July 31, 2003


just out of curiosity, what exactly was so awful about those dot commers?

/rant
Dot commers were just an anti-art dynamo in this town. Their hyperinflated salaries drove up rents. Furthermore, many art workspaces and music practice spaces were shut down and turned into expensive lofts. So, a bunch of the art community is driven out.

But, in theory we should now have a bunch of wealthy, hip young patrons for the remaining art and music community, right? Wrong. They either stay home and play computer games & watch TV, or if they do go out it's to the new foo foo bars made just for them. My dot-commer roommate left the house about once a month for the year I lived with her. She even had her damn groceries delivered from webvan so she wouldn't have to leave home and be exposed to icky real people. Meanwhile she's sitting on an awesome cheap apartment in the Mission, which is very hip to her, but only in the abstract.

So, the overall population of art patrons and otherwise culturally active people goes down, meaning the remaining artists and musicians that could afford to hang on in the city for a bit due to rent control or good luck are driven out as well. So, now the dot commers are gone too, and the remaining people are just walking around dazed wondering "What the hell happened to our city?"
posted by badstone at 12:26 PM on July 31, 2003


Hell, if you're willing to look outside the trendy area, $525'll get you a nice 1-br in Houston. I've got one for $420 and, though it lacks a few amenities, it's rather nice, and largish.
posted by fidelity at 12:52 PM on July 31, 2003


So, boo fucking hoo for the landlords.

In NYC, they've gotten around this by legislating the lowering the minimum rent to get rent-controlled apartments into the "fair market". I believe it was something like $3000/mo., lowered to around $2000/mo. This cuts the number of apartments still on RC in half, not including what it does to places that are merely rent stabalized.

The argument was that the poor, sad landlords just weren't able to make any money with those rent-controlled places. Even though most landlords of RC apartments don't spend a dime to fix them up -- a tactic you obviously have some experience with.

When you consider how much more expensive buying is than renting in the coastal metro areas, I imagine it will take quite a while for rents to really recede.

It's the same situation in Boston, too. Average home costs are in the 3-400,000 range (ranch style, 1-2 beds). Condos are the same. And you can't just move outside the city to escape it; because the commuter rail covers the entire eastern half of the state, anywhere that has access charges accordingly. Towns that are an hour away have rents that are at best $50 less than fair market in downtown. It's just crazy. My solution wasn't, however, to buy instead of rent -- though it's always better to build equity that you can at least borrow against. My solution was to move to a cheaper area. The Northeast is completely saturated; there are no more 'up and coming' areas that haven't been priced out by speculators trying to cash in.

I just wait in eager anticipation with my twirling thumbs, waiting for the housing bubble to burst, for rental speculators to start defaulting on their Fannie Mae's and Freddie Mac's... I'm getting all giddy just thinking about it.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 12:54 PM on July 31, 2003


Civil Disobedient: I hope you realize that when (I believe it will happen, indeed) Fannie and Freddie start seeing defaults, you and I will be the ones bailing them out.

Moral Hazard.

I swear I'm not stalking you today. We're just running in the same circles.
posted by trharlan at 1:13 PM on July 31, 2003


Houses and apartments cost A LOT to own, people! Let's say you buy a $750,000 apartment complex, with a 30 year mortgage at 7.5%. That's $5244 /month in mortgage payments, which doesn't sound like much. But wait, there's more!

State, Federal, and local income taxes on the rental money, plus state, federal, and local property taxes. Plus insurance (up the wazoo.) Plus upkeep (and even if you say most landlords don't do upkeep, trust me, just to keep a house standing that isn't brand new costs a LOT of money...and that's not talking cosmetic improvements.) Plus utilities (if that's not passed on to the tenents.) It's not like your rent every month is pure profit.

Yes, there are bad landlords who milk the system and screw their renters. But it's a very expensive thing to undertake and I think there's a real feeling among renters that they are "owed" something...cheap rents in a place where it's damn expensive to own. Think about it, if you could afford it, you'd probably buy a house. But it's really friggin expensive...so you rent. Well, someone has to own where you live and pay for it all.

I used to live in Berkeley and the guy who rented this BEAUTIFUL townhouse for about $250/month (he'd been there for years) that the landlord could have rented for $2000/month had a "rent is theft" sign in his window. Pissed me off. Don't like renting- try owning a house, buddy, and see if your tune changes.
posted by aacheson at 1:19 PM on July 31, 2003


Houses and apartments cost A LOT to own, people! Let's say you buy a $750,000 apartment complex, with a 30 year mortgage at 7.5%. That's $5244 /month in mortgage payments, which doesn't sound like much.

That's assuming you're buying it over a period of 30 years. Most of the landlords I know fall into two categories: 1) Those who have enough cash on hand to buy it either outright, or over a very short period of time, or 2) Those speculating rents will save their asses on mortgage payments. Here's a tip: if you can't pay for your building without relying on excessive rents, don't buy it, fool. You're just another speculator that's gonna get hit when the market takes a dip.

But wait, there's more!
Goody!

State, Federal, and local income taxes on the rental money...
... so? It's income. Why shouldn't it be taxes?

...plus state, federal, and local property taxes.
... which go to nice neighborhood things like police, fire department, etc. If you want your rental to ever be rented, or to stay in good shape, you'd better be in a neighborhood with at least a modicum of services like these. Also, these taxes are peanuts compared to the rents. If you actually own the building, and are "owner occupied" (I put in quotes because the vast majority of "owner occupied" apartment buildings are not), your rent can be as low as a thousand bucks a year. That's in Boston. North End. Downtown. In other words, rent from one tenant, for one month pays your taxes. BIG DEAL.

Plus insurance (up the wazoo.)
Again, you're making an issue out of something that is a blessing. What do you think happens when your apartment building burns down, or floods, or any number of other disasters? Insurance keeps you out of the poor house; I don't see it as a big communist hassle.

Plus upkeep (and even if you say most landlords don't do upkeep, trust me, just to keep a house standing that isn't brand new costs a LOT of money...and that's not talking cosmetic improvements.)
False. The apartment I lived in when I lived in NYC was a shithole. The only money spent for upkeep was a retarded man that came by every other week to make sure the trash had been picked up. He was our super. When the sewer line that went into the building broke, when shit and piss and god-knows what else flooded the basement, when after two weeks of doing nothing, flies and maggots started infesting our apartment, what did our landlord do? NOTHING. It took a call to the department of housing, department of sanitation, and department of environmental protection (the latter was the only agency that got anything done) to force him to fix the place. This, of course, was all covered in his insurance (see above!), but he still took a month to get it back to a quasi-state of livability. This experience was not unusual for the city.

Plus utilities (if that's not passed on to the tenents.)
Except, they're almost always passed to the tenants, but that's a nice thought.

It's not like your rent every month is pure profit.
Not if you're using rentals to pay mortgages. Otherwise, it can be. A lot of the Hasidic community in Williamsburg (Brooklyn) subsists off of rental income. They just spend their days reading the torah and thanking God that they had the prescience to buy crappy tenament buildings in an area that would later become the hipster dumping ground of Manhattan.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 1:45 PM on July 31, 2003


That's $5244 /month in mortgage payments, which doesn't sound like much.

If that doesn't sound like much to you, then I want your job.
posted by majcher at 1:51 PM on July 31, 2003


Civil_Disobedient,

Just because insurance is a good thing doesn't mean it's CHEAP. Just because taxes go to good things doesn't mean they don't cost a shitload of money (and I disagree iwith you on the numbers. They cost a bundle. My friends own a two-rental unit duplex in Oakland they paid $300,000 for and they pay about $30,000/year in property taxes. That's $2500/month. More than the rental of one of the TWO units.) Just because everyone pays income taxes doesn't mean they don't come out of the rental money.

My point is not to debate the good or bad points of the costs of renting property, my point is that if you pay $800/month, that is NOT $800 put profit going straight into the bank account of your landlord.

(majcher-it sounds like a lot to me too, but some people may think...well, that's only 2 units worth of money! What about all the rest?)
posted by aacheson at 2:30 PM on July 31, 2003


$525'll get you a nice 1-br in Houston.

<snobbery mode="blatant">

yeah, but it's in Houston! If you're going to go to that extreme to save money, you might as well move to Calcutta, where you can get a nice 2-bedroom for a mere $260 in a city with just as nice a climate and urban amenities.

</snobbery>
posted by Mars Saxman at 3:35 PM on July 31, 2003


Don't get posted by Mars, you might get scabies!
posted by beth at 3:46 PM on July 31, 2003


each scabie is considered an additional tenant and required a seperate security deposit.
posted by quonsar at 4:10 PM on July 31, 2003


How does one go about getting posted by Mars in the first place?
posted by signal at 4:12 PM on July 31, 2003


aacheson - Points taken. But just to spice things up a bit, you can actually check the property taxes being charged for every single Boston building. In the North End, one of the more 'desirable' areas, it's a couple grand a year, tops. That's providing the building doesn't have commercial property on the first floor, which occurs a lot in my neighborhood. Then it's about 2-3 times that, but still less then your friend in Oakland. This is in the heart of the city, one of the oldest areas of the country, with kitch-a-plenty.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:05 PM on July 31, 2003


Hell, if you're willing to look outside the trendy area, $525'll get you a nice 1-br in Houston. I've got one for $420 and, though it lacks a few amenities, it's rather nice, and largish.

That's pretty sweet. I'm still in school, so I don't want to have to make a big commute every day, several times a day (most likely).

yeah, but it's in Houston! If you're going to go to that extreme to save money, you might as well move to Calcutta

Ouch. Come on, fourth-largest city in the U.S. (possibly third by now). It's not as "hip" as many places, I guess, but it's cool enough and there's enough going on here to make living here worthwhile.
posted by nath at 7:47 PM on July 31, 2003


yeah, but it's in Houston! If you're going to go to that extreme to save money, you might as well move to Calcutta,

$260 a month actually sounds extremely overpriced for Kolkata, although I guess India has been experiencing a boom lately... And, yeah, they renamed the city from Calcutta.
posted by wackybrit at 7:48 PM on July 31, 2003


Thanks to crazy rent control, I've been able to stay in a nice two bedroom apartment (with, currently, one roommate) in Pacific Heights since August 1995. Clearly I can never move.

I don't feel sorry for landlords, though.


I was about to say: feel sorry for the rest of us who are aren't grandfathered into a sweet deal. But after that horror story, I don't feel so bad anymore.
posted by scarabic at 4:41 PM on August 8, 2003


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