HUDSON — During a 2010 New York gubernatorial debate, political activist and perennial candidate Jimmy McMillan said “the rent was too high.” Her statement went viral early on social media as it resonated with so many.
Twelve years later, rental prices are still soaring across the country. And Hudson, a town that has attracted both buyers and renters to the city, finds itself in the midst of a housing and rental crisis.
According to apartment rental search website Zumper, the average rental price for a one-bedroom apartment in Hudson is $1,900 per month. This is a 6% increase over last year, according to the website.
“I get calls every day from people looking for apartments and I have nothing to show them,” said Robert Kavanaugh, a licensed associate broker with Barns & Farms Realty LLC on Warren Street.
Kavanaugh has worked as a broker at Hudson for the past 20 years.
“It’s not going to get better,” he said.
Nancy Felcetto, licensed real estate agent at Brown Harris Stevens on Warren Street, noted that some people started moving to Hudson because they wanted to leave the big cities for a smaller one that seemed more affordable in comparison.
“There has been a nationwide growth of people moving towards more affordable areas,” she said.
But affordability is in the eye of the beholder.
“You’re not going to find a two-bedroom apartment for $700 a month in Hudson,” she said. “People who own properties want rental income and they will earn more from Airbnb than from rentals.”
Airbnb is an online website that allows people to rent their homes for short and long term to visitors.
A current listing, a one-bedroom listing on North Fifth Street, charges $109 per day. That’s potentially double what that landlord could get by renting to a longer-term tenant through a real estate agent.
Another ad for a two-bedroom apartment at 433 Warren St. is asking for $1,800 a month. In early fall, a two-bedroom apartment in the same building was asking about $1,200 a month. While Felcetto said prices for short-term rentals naturally rise in the spring and summer, the trend of higher rents extends across the town of Hudson.
“Hudson residents have struggled for years with rising housing costs, caused by an insufficient supply of affordable, market-priced housing,” said Dan Kent, Vice President of Initiatives for the Galvan Foundation, a non-profit organization committed to increasing the stock of affordable housing in Hudson. “Collectively, we have the power to solve this problem by building more homes for people at all income levels.
The rent situation has not always been so dire in Hudson. Kavanaugh, who was born in Hudson, remembers returning from the army in 1971.
“I saw a market where you could buy any house in Hudson at the time for $50,000 or $60,000,” he said.
Two years into a global pandemic, it’s easier to pick up a $1,000 cat painting in Hudson than it is to find affordable rental housing in the city.
According to a report prepared by Hudson’s Director of Housing Justice, Michelle Tullo, and Hudson’s Community Planning and Development Agency Administrative Coordinator, Sara Black, the housing stock and rate options of the market for rent in the city are scarce.
A search for rental units available on major rental websites in December 2021 revealed only six one-bedroom apartments for rent, averaging $1,450 for one bedroom. This mid-market rate is $600 above the Columbia County fair market rate.