After so many years of watching Chandler and Joey, George and Kramer, Samantha and Charlotte and the rest of their gang live it up in the Big Apple, it’s hard not to image what life would be like if you had a pad of your own in the city that never sleeps.
Apartments in Greenwich Village, the Upper West Side and the Upper East Side appear to be attainable on the small screen, but could Dr. Ross Gellar, Carrie Bradshaw, Jerry Seinfeld or any of the other fictional New Yorkers we’ve come to know and love afford their rent in real life?
In one word, no.
Would the rents be feasible?
Roomi, a mobile rental app that helps users find roommates and rooms for rent or sublet, published a series of infographics that explored whether characters from Sex and the City, Friends, How I Met Your Mother, Will & Grace and Girls could afford current monthly rent prices in New York City based on the average salary of their respective careers.
A property is considered “affordable” when a renter or buyer spends 30 percent or less of their monthly income on the mortgage or rent. For example, Rachel Green, who worked as a buyer for Polo Ralph Lauren, could afford the current average rent per room of $1,750 in the West Village.
According to Glassdoor, Rachel would earn $74,770 per year as a buyer. Divide her annual income by 12 ($6,230) and you’ll find 30 percent of her monthly salary comes out to $1,869.25 — $119.25 below the average rent per room.
Beloved New Yorker and fictional fashionista Carrie Bradshaw wouldn’t fare so well. On average, a writer earns a yearly salary of $50,593. Divide that by 12 ($4,216) and 30 percent of her monthly salary comes out to $1,264; the average rent per room on the Upper East Side $1,397, so she is $133 short.
Sadly, not one character on Girls could afford the average rent per room in Lower Manhattan or Greenpoint.
Real life rental issues
Roomi’s findings line up with the plethora of studies centered around rising rental prices and issues with affordability that seem to predominantly impact the East and West coasts.
On July 12, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) released its “2017 National Housing Pulse Survey” that found respondents who live on those coasts were the most likely to say their monthly payments were causing significant strain on their monthly budget.
Another NAR study about renter confidence showed that renters are on shaky ground about their personal finances; that lack of financial confidence impacts whether they’ll ever become homeowners.
“It should come as little surprise that the confidence reading among renters has fallen every month since January (64.8) and currently sits at its lowest level (53.8) since tracking began in March 2015 (65.7),” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun of the study.
“Paying more in rent each year and seeing home prices outpace their incomes is discouraging, and it’s unfortunately pushing homeownership further away — especially for those living in expensive metro areas on the East and West Coast.”
Furthermore, New York City is consistently rated as one of the hardest places to rent, especially if you’re not earning a high wage.
Fortunately, it seems NAR statistics are no muse for Hollywood’s sitcom screenwriters. So, the next time you’re watching Friends and wondering how in the world Monica would be able to afford that awesome Greenwich Village apartment, just remember: she wouldn’t!
Read the full study here.