New York Times Renovates Real Estate Section

Sex and the median rent.

Fictional New York apartments featured in TV series are a lot more realistic today than they were back in the days of Sex in the City and Friends. So writes Ronda Kaysen in her inaugural weekly column “36o View,” part of Sunday’s new-look New York Times Real Estate section. The Sept. 18 print makeover will be followed by a new website version Oct. 3 featuring enhanced photographic, video, interactive and responsive elements.

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The passage in Kaysen’s column that stuck with FishbowlNY is the following. On slide-rule paper, this may be mathematically correct. But otherwise, it does no one any good:

In early 1996, when “Friends” was in its second season, the median rent in Manhattan was $2,000 a month. Over the next 20 years, it jumped 67 percent to $3,344 a month in early 2016, according to Jonathan J. Miller, the president of the appraisal firm Miller Samuel.

But while that may seem like an enormous increase, adjust those numbers for inflation, and the median rent in 1996 would have been $3,645 a month, or 9 percent more than it is today. “Rents are actually somewhat lower than they were in the mid 1990s,” Mr. Miller said. “But because wages have leveled off, it doesn’t feel that way.”

Other new features in the redesigned Real Estate section include “Calculator,” a weekly graphic illustration by Michael Kolomatsky; “Renters,” a bi-weekly profile column; and “The High End,” which covers luxury and international real estate markets. Additional details about this weekend’s revamp can be found here.