Apartment rentals on upswing as housing market remains sluggish
Renters want amenities without headache of home ownership
BY KATHY KAHN
The race in the upscale rental market is on, and developer Martin Ginsberg, whose Hudson Valley riverfront projects were mainly comprised of high-end condominiums, has taken the route many in his cohort are seeing as a way to do business: move from luring purchasers to enticing renters.
The luxurious Harbors at Haverstraw had its share of problems as Ginsberg, along with other local developers, saw the booming condo and housing market sink, Hudson River views notwithstanding. One building at Harbors approved for luxury condos sat half-completed for several months after the Recession, raising the ire of local officials. Ginsberg, however, amended his plans getting approvals to make the building’s luxury apartments rentals rather than condos. As a result, the building is 90 percent full, with prices starting above $2,200 a month.
Ginsberg made an appearance at Rockland Community College’s Haverstraw Extension on October 4, where he attended the launch of RCC’s new 3D printing initiative. “I’m very committed to the town and village,” Ginsberg told those who attended the event, “and I know this expansion is going to help the college and the community.”
It’s no surprise that waterfront housing, despite “global warming,” remains highly desirable, but in today’s market, potential buyers are hesitant to commit to a mortgage, no matter how many amenities the property might offer. The market has been volatile, so developers still in the game have refocused their attention on the rental market, where the demand for high-end units is calling the shots.
“The ferry from Haverstraw to Ossining’s train station is also a big plus for Harbors and for residents around Haverstraw who commute to Westchester or New York City,” said Ginsberg’s attorney, Andrew Maniglia. “It’s a nice option, especially if you want to avoid the Tappan Zee bridge area.” With traffic backups often finding commuters screeching to a halt by the time they reach Exit 14 on the Thruway, Maniglia makes a good case for finding other ways to get to work on the east side of the Hudson, and the Haverstraw-Ossining Ferry is one of them.
An unstable job market, gas prices hovering closer and closer to $4 a gallon, food prices escalating as packaging shrinks, are all contributing to the demand for rentals. . With prices in Westchester and New York City increasingly untenable, higher-income wage earners who want to be close to the city also want amenities—including swimming pools, hiking trails, fitness centers and a bit of the great outdoors—to that end, Rockland is increasingly showing up on their radar.
That’s good news for Rockland builders, realtors and for aging home owners—many of whom have put their homes up for rent and moved on with plans to relocate or made the move to an easier lifestyle via renting until the housing market turns around.
Today’s workforce also wants to their keep options open, staying portable. For many of the Millennials (20-34 age group), the “American Dream” of home ownership is not an option for many reasons, including stricter banking regulations and the demand for higher down payments. Add to that the burden of New York’s real property tax, and home ownership is often viewed as a detriment.
As for Haverstraw, Steve Porath, executive director of the Rockland Industrial Development Agency, says, It’s on its way up—it was deeply hurt by the Recession, but go there on a weekend evening and see the restaurants on Main Street packed….it is becoming a destination. The new addition at RCC, the building of more market-rate units and the continued addition of affordable housing is all contributing to the renaissance in both the town and village. Let’s hope the economy continues to grow stronger and keeps Rockland moving forward.”