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Footage of huge line for New York apartment open house sparks anger: ‘Actually so devastating’

‘I am scared to start looking for a new place’

Chelsea Ritschel
New York
Monday 23 May 2022 17:48 BST
New Yorker shares video of real estate agent taking selfie in front of large crowd of people that showed up for open house
New Yorker shares video of real estate agent taking selfie in front of large crowd of people that showed up for open house (TikTok / @sarahloukiernan)

A New Yorker has highlighted the current competitiveness of the New York City real estate market with a video of a real estate agent taking a selfie in front of the huge crowd of people that showed up for a recent open house.

Sarah, who goes by the username @sarahloukiernan on TikTok, and who lives in Brooklyn, shared a video of the large turnout earlier this month.

In the clip, which Sarah filmed in the Greenpoint neighbourhood of Brooklyn, the TikToker captured the moment that a real estate agent attempted to take a selfie with the crowd of people who showed up to view an available apartment in the New York City borough.

In addition to capturing the real estate agent’s attempt to fit the crowd into the picture, the TikTok also spanned the sidewalk in front of the real estate listing, which was filled with what they estimated to be 50 people.

“NY real estate agent takes selfie with applicants for apartment because he’s ‘never seen this many people for an open house in 17 years,’” Sarah wrote in a caption on the video.

In the caption, they added that the apartment market is “insane in Brooklyn,” and that “maybe 50 people” showed up for “one apartment”.

The video, which has since been viewed more than 1.1m times, has prompted a discussion about the “infuriating” status of the New York City real estate market in the comments.

“This is … very sad and infuriating,” one person commented, while another said: “This is actually so devastating.”

Others claimed that an influx of people moving to New York City is to blame for the lack of affordable housing, with someone else writing: “Yeah… moving here definitely wasn’t the wave people thought it would be… now they’re scrambling to find places to live.”

“New York natives and people with long-time jobs here can’t find housing, it’s enough,” another person added, while someone else wrote: “There are literally skyscrapers full of apartments that go unused by the rich… I hate it here.”

The video also prompted shocked responses from viewers who questioned why people looking for a home would stay to see the listing despite the large crowd, with Sarah revealing in response that the apartment was rent stabilised.

Others acknowledged that the housing market has become competitive in cities around the country, not just New York City, with one person claiming that their father is a real estate agent in Miami, Florida, and “it’s quite the similar scene”.

“This is a crisis,” another person wrote.

According to a recent report from Douglas Elliman, individuals trying to find housing in New York City are engaging in bidding wars over available units, with the real estate company reporting that there is now a bidding war for one in every five Manhattan rental apartments, and that the number of available units in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and northwest Queens is below 10,000.

The number of available listings is also below the number of Airbnbs in the city, as Curbed reports that there are between 10,572 and 20,397 short-term rentals in the city “right now”.

A recent Housing and Vacancy Survey from the US Census Bureau also found that vacancies in units under $1,500 a month are at a 30-year low, according to NBC News, and that, in 2021, the median asking rent for a vacant apartment was $2,750.

The Independent has contacted Sarah for comment.

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