When it comes to buying real estate or renting an apartment, they say it’s all about location, and that’s no lie. But at what cost? And at what sacrifice?
Recently a young man in New York City found out just how much it would cost to be in his ideal, prime location— the upper West side of Manhattan. Grayson Altenberg found a listing that was perfect for his lifestyle, a 5-minute walk from his job and in an area usually reserved only for the wealthy. However, this listing came with a bit of a shock. It was a tiny micro-apartment measuring only 9 square meters. Keeping in mind the average parking space is about 15 square meters you can get a good sense of just how small this apartment really is. The studio micro-apartment, which was listed at US$1,100.00, came fully equipped with shelving, a cube fridge, and a twin bed. The listing description even stated, “It’s so small you have to move the bed just to open and close the front door” and “This apartment is so small, you can’t have three friends over at the same time; one of you will have to wait outside in the hall.”
Sharing his excitement, the new tenant, young chef Grayson Altenberg, recorded a video diary for U.S. media site Village Voice. Although he enjoys the comforts of the area, there were a few drawbacks for him. He says, “I’m going to want to date someone eventually, but bringing them in is like, ‘hey, this is the situation. I have a room that fits one person.”
Although this is a bit of a feel-good story, there are many that don’t end so well. Living in the U.S., and in particular New York City, can have many people stretching themselves just to make rent or mortgage payments. Sure there is the convenience in location, but costs and sacrifices shouldn’t be ignored.
Consider this – a couple could retire to Nicaragua on as little as US$1,000 per month, including about US$500 per month for rent. All that for less than what Grayson is paying for his 9-square-meter apartment. And Nicaragua, although it might be off the beaten path, has year-round sunshine and great beaches. Its a prime location if you enjoy eating locally-grown organic foods and spending time outdoors. As a young chef, even Grayson would have to give that some consideration. Could Nicaragua be really worth it? You’d have to answer that for yourself, but if cost-of-living is a major consideration, maybe you should be giving it a look.