She realized that for what she paid in rent, she could buy a place of her own. It only gets worse from there
Every “The Hunt” column begins with the Hunters describing the apartment they want, and ends with them rationalizing whatever they came away with. This is The Hunt: Dreams vs. Reality.
The Hunter: Kendall Huberman
Dream: Close to transportation, work, and friends
Reality: Renovated studio, views
Just when you think the New York Times‘s “The Hunt” column can’t possibly reach new, facepalm-y heights, they go and publish a column that’s more groan-inducing than what’s come before. Take, for example, this week’s column: the Hunter is 26-year-old Kendall Huberman, who lived in the East Village in a two-bedroom apartment (with a roommate, of course) where she paid $1,800 a month. The rent was too high for her liking, the area was “insanely noisy,” and after landing a job as a design assistant she thought that it would be better if she bought a place of her own. “Throwing my money away in rent was making me nauseous,” she told the Times.
Enter Huberman’s father, who was willing to help her with a down payment on a $400,000 apartment, because “he thought of it as an investment by way of me.” (It only gets more facepalm-y from here.) She began looking at apartments throughout Brooklyn, but her neighborhood of choice was Williamsburg (sure, why not) because of its “younger vibe.”
A Crown Heights one-bedroom apartment proved to be too far away from her job and friends; a Prospect Heights one-bedroom was too dark and “sort of depressing.” In Fort Greene, a one-bedroom asking $389,000 didn’t appeal. Those neighborhoods, according to Huberman, felt like “uncharted territory.” (…what?) At that point, her real estate agent advised her to apply for an income-restricted Williamsburg walk-up that was part of the city’s Housing Development Fund Corporation (HDFC) program.
And here’s where you, like us, may have rolled your eyes so hard that you gave yourself a headache. The HDFC program is intended to help low-income New Yorkers get a leg-up on home ownership in the city; a Millennial who got enough financial assistance from her parents to ensure that her mortgage is only $1,200 per month is probably not—or shouldn’t be, anyway—the intended recipient of this benefit. We’ll let Gothamist take it away with why this is so icky:
Wealth does not inherently make one a bad person, but bragging about using your parents’ money to game the city’s broken housing subsidies takes a special lack of self-awareness. You can blame Huberman’s realtor for setting up the deal, or you can blame the currently broken HDFC co-op system that allows this sort of thing to happen repeatedly. But save room to blame the Times for glorifying it—and letting quotes like these hang in the air forever.
Anyway, Huberman loved the home and eventually got it for $407,500, and all was well in her privileged world. She decorated in what the Times describes as “contemporary Scandinavian style” (translation: all from Ikea); she likes life without a roommate, and in her new, oh-so-hip neighborhood. Homeownership, she says, “feels kind of adultish and comforting and stabilizing.” You can’t make this stuff up.