What is the perk of living in a city? Besides the constant pulse of the world around you reminding you that you're alive? It's living in buildings that offer you comfort, convenience, and important amenities that make your home feel like a real home - and daily life most enjoyable. Do you ever wonder what the most important amenities to your fellow city dwellers are? Developers, investors, condo and coop purchasers-and renters alike-all move in one giant circle around the question. It seems that a feeling of safety from a watchman and comfort from furry friends are the most important amenities in both rentals and sales. StreetEasy is notorious for being the go-to online location for brokers and broker-less real estate inquirers, so we went to them for the answer.
“For Sale” Preferences: Doorman first, then pets, Elevator, Outdoor Space, Washer/Dryer, Dishwasher, Laundry, Gym, Pool.
“For Rent” Preferences: first is Pets, then Doorman, Elevator, Washer/Dryer, Outdoor Space, Laundry, Dishwasher, Gym, and Furnished.*1
When you research apartment sales over $2M you see a bit of a change in importance. Doorman, concierge services, live-in super, gym, and roof deck then take the top tiers of important amenities.
With all the new developments in the city we are now witness to a new emergence of play spaces and children's programming that are now trending. Also, newer to the amenities arena are yoga rooms, pet spas, game rooms, storage/cold storage and parking and we see this shift as more and more families are choosing city living over suburban "bliss". Developers are hopeful that these offerings will convince people that the city is more child-friendly than it used to be. Also hopeful that staying active in city and a social life is very much a possibility for middle income families. Now, instead of moving to a suburb, we are seeing growing families moving to more child-friendly buildings within the five boroughs including Manhattan*2
Overall, amenities are the key to happy living in a city and developers know it. One of the reasons rental developers are creating luxury buildings with luxury amenities is directly related to the rise in renters in metro areas that we have seen in the last decade. The U.S. saw a 5% increase from 136.4 to 158.4 million renters from 2006-2014. A surely growing number in New York City.*3With the high New York cost of living and down payments needed to secure property purchases, single family home options become limited in comfort offered for price range. So many what-would-have-been suburban homebuyers are making the decision to rent instead of buy. This explains why the cost of rentals has increased because of amenities offered but also because of the demand and need for them. Some of the new rental buildings have so many amenities it can even be enticing to current homeowners to go back to renting.
If you can afford to purchase a home in New York City today, you will have to choose what works best for you regarding amenities, in addition to paying for your mortgage and taxes. Maintenance can be a real bummer for some home buyers because it feels as though it's going down the drain. But a lot of the amenities truly do cost money to function. So if you want it, you have to pay for it one way or another. If you want to keep the maintenance fees down you would be tempted to go to a single amenity building such as an elevator. Then again, you could just purchase less space and get the doorman, gym, playroom, pool, and roof deck.
Lastly, if you want more space and none of the extras, that is an option too - and the cheapest, but not offering the most comfort. Generally a pool will require the most amount of maintenance fees and then comes 24 hour doormen. It seems like a fair trade if you remember that you're paying for the comfort of living among all the amazing things happening in a bustling city - and not being forced to commute in rush hour every day on a traffic-jammed freeway just for the yard and the 3rd bedroom. It's all relative to what you need in your life. If you live in New York City, it is certain that you, at some point, will consider this when deciding where you will call home.
*2 The Cooperator New York
*3 New York University Furman Center and Capital One