A new housing lottery opened up this week, putting up 18 units in a building in Flatiron. The cheapest of the apartments is a single studio that’s going for a mind-bogglingly low $580 per month. Another six studios are also up for grabs at an also low $613 per month, and one more at $947. The remaining 10 units are all one-bedrooms, ranging in price from $962 to $2,270 per month.
All of these units are far below the market rate for the area. In 2015, NoMad/Flatiron ranked as the most expensive area in the city for renters, with the median rent for a one-bedroom sitting at a cool $4,490, making this lottery particularly intriguing. The building in question is The Mason, a new residential building at 145 Madison Avenue. In order to qualify for the coveted $580 apartment, you need to have an annual income of between $19,886 and $26,720. Those numbers shift a bit for the $613 ($22,903 to $29,240) and $947 units ($34,354 and $43,860).
The two cheapest groups of these units are geared toward residents who earn 40 percent of the median area income. These kinds of caps on many of the housing lotteries that we've written about regularly draw off-putting comments from readers who fail to understand the goal of affordable housing in the first place. They’re a tool to help foster economic diversity and keep neighborhoods from being overrun by bourgeois nonsense—not a drawing to free up more cash for brunch.
This lottery, like many before it, promises to be highly competitive. That said, half of the units are reserved for current residents of Manhattan Community Board 5. So if you live in that district, a ridiculously cheap pad could be in your future.