Letter: Stop the Lakewoodflation

I am just one of the many yungerleit who are struggling to pay for more than basic. However there is a serious problem that feeds this, price of rent for an apartment.

How could it be that the going rate for a young couple is 2200! That’s literally the wife’s entire paycheck! Ok maybe a few hundred dollars left but then what? Babysitters cost 700 a month! So how do we pay for groceries? It’s insane and there should be a vaad that doesn’t allow you to charge more than 1500 MAX for an apartment! No more Lakewoodflation! ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! Let the yungerleit live in peace.

I simply don’t get it. Forget about taking advantage, it’s so overpriced there’s no reason for it other than Lakewoodflation. Crazy!

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  1. I am 100% Maskim. I am renting for years and then got kicked out of my house. My rent is through the roof and I literally can’t keep up. I have 8 kids that I pay tuitions for.

  2. Everyone was saying 10-15 years ago that there moving to Lkwd because it’s cheap and affordable… Well, those days are over. Those that have moved to Lakewood shouldn’t…

  3. You barking at the wrong tree

    As a landlord, the cost of taxes, insurance, maintenance, etc. doubled in the last couple of years.

    If rent will be under $1500, I’ll be subsidizing you, and I’m also learning in yeshiva.

    So you want me to go out to work in order to be able to subsidy you so you can learn??? How is it makes sense?

    Not to mention the cost of the house and the mortgage, which you renting 3rd of it, also doubled or tripled.

    Go to the township and ask to lower the taxes, to the insurance to lower the rate, etc.

    Don’t expect the landlord to subsidy you and then blame him for not doing so.

    • I’m sympathetic to landlords right to charge whatever they want, but I have to call out pathetic excuses when I hear them.

      Taxes did “NOT” double, private homeowners insurance did “NOT” double, maintenance definitely didn’t double.

      Besides, a landlords expenses has nothing to do with how much rent he can get. The market determines that.

      • My insurance and taxes went up $450 a month this year. Gas and electricity water etc go up every year. I can’t raise my tenants close to what I have to find each month.

    • Your cost of house only doubled or tripled if you bought it within last 3 years. You are example of not feeling your own yungerman pain.
      People start charging more in COVID time because was shortage of apartments then. At least don’t come up with excuses !and try to understand reality of your own fellow learners?

    • Also, could you please tell us, how were you able to afford your very expensive house staying in learning? Both of us work, and we could only afford a small not updated house, maybe your wife is genius and she is earning so much to buy a new big house with rental basement? Or maybe your parents helped you, and that’s why this guy who probably doesn’t have help, doesn’t register in your heart anyhow. Tell me how to buy big house with basement on one salary?

      • Many out of town kollelim with openings…. less than Ideal comfort, as was the case for Lakewood years ago and what brought in the early pioneers..
        Ur now seeking the comforts created and not willing to pay the price for them.

    • I so agree with you.
      Tenants do not grasp your expenses as a landlord.
      Rents increase based on the expenses of the landlord.
      Some landlords cover the cost of water and sewer, gas, outside lighting, garbage pick up; not to mention the cost of up-keep to your building and outside grounds.

  4. Unfortunately, one very common answer for yungeleit who want to remain learning is to leave Lakewood and join kollelim elsewhere, in cities where living is affordable and the they get a kollel check. So so sad, and truly ironic, that yungeleit have to be pushed out of Lakewood in order to remain in learning.

    • I asked a very chashuve rav associated with the Yeshiva what young couples should do when it is impossible to rent or buy in Lakewood and it’s environs. He said, confidentially, “Move out of town!”

  5. While I understand the frustration and how it’s hitting everyone hard. That’s exactly it, hitting EVERYONE hard. Many of these landlords were hit with high purchase rates in purchasing the home and high mortgage rates well. The haven’ basement is an investment rental, they need to cover their payments.
    You’ll need to have a better understanding of todays economy and how inflation goes full circle. Simply complaining about your individual rent rates, is narrow minded and makes you sound like you came out from under a rock after a 4 year slumber, right through Covid.

  6. Property taxes went up, home insurance went up, painting and refreshing the apartment between one tenant and the next also went up. Are the landlord supposed to swallow the cost?

  7. It’s not ironic. This is the market. Lakewood rentals are actually cheaper for the sf than surrounding areas in NJ. NJ is an expensive state. Moving to a less expensive area to remain learning is not such a radical suggestion.

    • Absolutely correct.

      Its unfortunate that the pioneering spirit that built all the wonderful orthodox Jewish communities around the country seems to be a largely thing of the past.

    • Not a very good comparison.

      Your comparing basements to legal apartments that are above ground.

      Bottom line, rent is what it is because that’s what they are able to get.
      There is no direct correlation between a landlords expenses and how much rent they can get.

  8. Here is a comment from a homeowners perspective, home insurance rates are up BIG TIME, Interest rates are up BIG TIME, home costs are HIGH but stable, feel free to do the math & see for yourself! Noone is making bank, were all trying to survive.

    • I’m a homeowner taxes didn’t go up that much neither did homeowners insurance
      Who are you kidding interests rates went up the last few years most rentals weren’t bought in the last few years so most don’t have excuse of interest rates oak and vine was sold before interest rates went up and they are charging about $2000 or more for a basement we only focus on groceries where the last few years minimum wage went up over $5.00 per employee per hour the manufacturers including the Jewish ones are raising prices day and night but they are always the ganef landlords are the tzadikim
      there is a suit store in town that charges now almost $500 for a regular suit that the buttons fall off in the first month that same suit costed $289.00 a few years ago and was better quality hats doubled in price the last few years
      To make a new Couple pay $2000 a month to start off is be our own worst enemy we create these unsustainable environments

  9. Isn’t it interesting to note the rental prices and babysitter prices went up the same time as the kollel checks? Everyone thought it would help the yungerlight but it just raised prices elsewhere. Be careful what you wish for. Keep an open mind when you’re promised something o good to be true.

  10. Rent has been rock bottom for many years. It still is lower than average rent. Costs go up and so does rent. Learning in Kollel entails a lot of mesiras nefesh and is very difficult. Therefore if it doesn’t make financial sense and it shouldn’t then there are 2 options. Either have mesiras nefesh and figure it out or go work maybe klei kodesh or tutoring to help ends meet. Complaining and being ungetzeted won’t get you too far.. There is a 3rd option and that is tell your parents prior to the wedding instead of spending thousands on one night give it towards a mortgage and you can last at least 10 years longer in kollel. Hashem should give you koach.

  11. The frum developers should not be making so many millions on each development they build. They should charge less for the houses so the homeowners won’t have to charge these high rents to offset their ridiculous mortgages.

  12. I guess that’s why people need to get a job.
    Don’t mean this in a condescending way.
    Costs fluctuate with supply and demand, not with ones salary – or the lack thereof.

  13. Really??

    Are you still paying $1.99 for gas? How much does a dozen eggs cost? Do you write ridiculous letters to evergreen? GG?

    Grow up. And if you want to live in Lakewood with these costs, get a job

    • Excuse me mister, are you the type of guy who drives a lexus and doesnt put on blinkers? that’s what it seems like with your wrath. you don’t own this town. don’t tell ppl to get jobs, and put on your blinkers. you sound like a maskil telling yungerleit to go to work. Hatzlacha!

      • You most certainly don’t own this town either.
        There is a significantly increased demand for housing in lakewood (1,000+ new couples every year) exacerbated by people moving from Brooklyn (where they sold their Boro Park or Flatbush homes for sums in excess of a million).
        There is also a strong NIMBY movement against the kind of cluster housing that been affordable to yungeleit in the past.
        The price of a duplex in lakewood has gone from $475,000-550,000 in 2019 to $1,100,000-1,350,000 currently.
        I had considered buying back then, but decided I would try to put together a larger down payment.
        This increase is not simply greed or a cash grab.
        I have considered building a duplex for myself and seeing the other half. Here are the costs to build: land (depending on neighborhood) $1,000,000-1,300,000 permits (assuming it’s an approved use and you don’t need any variances) several thousands of dollars, construction (depending on design and upgrades) $1,050,000-1,400,000, interest will be about $200,000.
        It is a big risk of capital, and is not easy to obtain funding for.
        The margins on such a project aren’t as generous as people assume.
        Now as far as rent goes, you are renting one third of a million dollar home, the mortgage payment on $330,000 today (depending on rate etc) will run you somewhere in the $1,900-2,400 (yes some people are paying that much).
        Now you might say: well, that’s well and good for someone who just bought a home, but my landlord owns his home for thirty five years and doesn’t have a mortgage left on his home. But that is where free markets play a role. If tenants are willing to pay your landlord’s neighbor $2,200 for his basement, why should your landlord take $750 for his? He has to pay for six more chasunos (B’ezer Hashem) in the next five years. He has four Eidims to support and he helps his sons pay tuition for their nine children.
        I’m not telling you to go to work, but I am telling you that your current Hachnosa doesn’t meet your current Hotzaa.
        You can address that in a number of ways that do not involve going to work. This is not the appropriate forum for that discussion either way.
        From the anger that is apparent in your response to Chamor hador, it definitely seems that this situation is weighing heavily on your mind. I would suggest you sit down with a Rebbe and discuss the entire situation with all of its nuances and see if you can get some wise hadracha.

  14. Everything is unaffordable and I haven’t seen the paychecks go up. It’s ridiculous.
    Why are property taxes going up every year? I don’t get it. There’s so many houses that were built in the last 10-15 years. Shouldn’t that bring the Taxes down? Everything is so expensive and overprice, it’s insane.
    What was the point of building so many houses if that doesn’t bring down the Taxes…
    The quality of life has gone down the tubes.
    The roads are a free for all.
    Enough is enough.
    A resident in Lakewood for 25+ years

    • Every new home requires services. New residents require trash pick up, police and EMS services. New developments require snow plowing and road repair. Additional cars cause more wear and tear on the roads and expensive road improvements.

      In short, new taxes go to services for the new residents.

  15. I sympathize with your plight. The fact of the matter is that there are consequences to printing trillions of dollars out of thin air during COVID. Our currency has devalued by about 30% so everything is more expensive, including gasoline which is directly linked to the actual value of the dollar. This is not someone being greedy. If the “vaad” were to set price limits on housing, there simply would not be housing available.

  16. Please stop with the lie of landlords paying more. During 2021 and 2022 everyone refinanced and saved hundreds of dollars on their monthly payments while hiking the rent through the roof. BTW, this issue is not unique to Lakewood, and not even the America. The entire civilized world is dealing dealing with the same issue.

    • False!! I literarily was looking there and that’s where I was told 2200. Basically this whole article was only because of someone from south side.

      • I live in a development that has 3-4 vacant apartments, asking for $1300 and they’ve been sitting for a couple of months already. Stop the yelling and screaming and sacrifice the extra half bath!!! Go to where you can afford!! Open the masa umatan and go through the listings again!!

        When I was getting married 10 years ago, I couldn’t afford to live close to yeshiva so I rented in what was at that time the furthest out development for $800 a month.

        Go to where you can afford!!

  17. I am hoping that the Yeshiva can open a Bais Medrash far from the center of town, and create a new nucleus of Kolleleit, similar to what they did with Princeton. This may reduce the pressure to pay the $1800 for an apartment in the yeshiva area vs $1300 for an apartment way down route 9, or in other similar, less pricey areas.

  18. While there certainly are people making a killing and adjusting to the market you need to understand that a big part of the uptick in pricing is organic.
    When the house was cheap and all other expenses we 2700 altogether the natural price for the basement was 1k to 1200. But now, the monthly mortgage can cost north of 5k so the cost of product effects actual pricing. Thats where the price change comes from.

  19. This is amusing but also ignorant of History. If the rental market collapses like it did in 2011-2012 then people will be in much more pain then they are now…. Foreclosure, short sales, people without jobs…. Open your eyes

  20. its tragic; yet as (moderated) told (moderated) years ago in regard to the growth, ” ah shtot darf hoben a tatte” yet even in kj with thousands of new apts and a 80 million dollar pipeline that took years of masterful askonus of the highest level the rent and purchase prices are beyond crazy.. in the end its supply vs demand that controls the market ( yes there are individual lanlords that are doing a huge chesed by renting at reasonable $$, i actually told my sister who is bh well off and has 4 houses in lkwd as rentals to charge less as she doesnt need the money to cover . it seems that nisayon is harder than writing a chk of 1800 to a kollel. bottom line construction needs to outpace the demand , the years of developments popping up where the cheap rent years

  21. The frum community is so politically conservative until it hits an individual’s pocket. This is capitalism. You’re charged what the market can bear. That’s the conservative politics that most of the frum community advocates. This is not socialism or communism where a “vaad” can tell landlords what to charge. Many logical suggestions were given in the above comments. For many years people (including myself) have stayed in learning until they could not make it economically anymore or they stayed in learning while living with true mesiras nefesh. This is real life! Grow up!

    • It’s true in a perfect world. There’s something unique here though.
      People are so afraid of being left out in the cold that they’ll stretch to pay for what they can’t afford. If Shloime won’t pay 2200 for a rental, Yanky will snatch it. There’s going to be someone willing to pay the price. It’s called FOMO.

      (Same issue with booking babysitters in previous September. Everyone knows it’s ridiculous, yet they keep doing it because they’re afraid to be left without.)

  22. not sure were you live. there are plenty of apartments available in Lakewood for $1500 . maybe you just have to be a little flexible and need a brand new apartment

          • This is hardly the forum to be posting people’s numbers.
            You know where to look for apartments for rent.
            You are well aware that there are apartments to be had for the price mentioned (I know someone who just moved into an apartment near county line for $1659.
            There are apartments listed as low as $1200.
            Those options don’t work for you because they are: too old, too small, in the wrong neighborhood, or the landlord has a bad reputation.

  23. Letter writer, there are apartments that rent for cheaper than the price you quoted, but they’re older, and not as updated. If you want to live in a newer and renovated apartment centrally located apartment, you’re going to pay the price for that. Your father-in-law might have decided to support your learning with a monthly stipend, but no one else is responsible for subsidizing your life.

    Your baal dirah doesn’t necessarily want to rent out his basement, he loses space, and there are many, many inconveniences to being a landlord. However, owning a home is expensive, so he rented his basement out to help with the overhead costs. I’m not sure if you’re paying for the full utilities, so you might not know this, but electricity has gone up, water has skyrocketed, gas has doubled in the past two years. Everyone’s property taxes have gone up, and your dollar isn’t going as far as used to. So naturally rents are going up as well. No one is renting out part of their home as a chessed, they’re doing it because they need the money also.

    • Just waiting until you need to buy a house. I feel your pain. The mesiras nefesh you put up to remain in kollel is beautiful. Hatzlocha Rabba, its not easy to bear life’s experiences. Just try to make a plan for multiple babysitters. A minivan. A house. Tuition. Chasunas.
      You’re concerned over 600$/month. It gets worse and everyone will have to face it.

  24. It all started with the housing prices skyrocketing in a short period of time. Yes we can blame our builders and real estate agents for that. This led to increases in everything else. As with chassidim there needs to be a control over pricing of houses and rentals , tuition, eddings etc. A basement rental should not be more than $1500 . There needs to be a cap. If you can’t pay your mortgage with that don’t buy the house!!! If the builders will see people aren’t grabbing their $1.2m metzias maybe they wouldn’t ask those prices!! Just saying these landlords are hurting their own kids in the long run. How many of these landlords bought the houses many years ago and were ok with $800 rent??? Their taxes went up but their mortgage didn’t. So what’s the excuse in charging so much $$???? Think about it. People are going to pay for this in the next world.

    • The cost to build has increased dramatically.
      Developers were happy to sell for $475-550,000 in 2019. Now it costs more than that just to build.

  25. A frum builder can not charge whatever he wants!!! That’s not in line with halacha and hashkafa. Sorry. Let me know who you are so I can sell you my goods at whatever price I want to charge.

    • You can charge whatever you want for your goods & I can decide whether or not to buy them.
      Would you be ok with me bringing a Rabbi with me to tell you how much you can sell it for? I don’t think so.

  26. Yes rent is expensive. But the landlord has no choice to to ask so much rent bec. Of the high mortgage/property taxes he pays. It’s sad and unfortunate that it’s gotten to this point where it’s so high but WHT more can the landlord do if his costs are so high?

  27. The matket dictates pricing… always and forever. This isn’t communist russia…. though its starting to feel like it. Let’s go Brandon.

  28. Just wondering why ppl bother posting here in the first place. Dozens of people air their frustrations, people either agree or bash them, nothing changes, and everyone’s as frustrated as they were before.

  29. getting married earlier will help people get more years in kollel and also they will have the zechus of doing things right and doing the right thing

    don’t squabble about the yungerleit’s apartments rather fight against the bochurim’s freezers

  30. My tenant is paying $1000 and was never raised. Actually, we’re struggling big time and can use the extra $$ but never felt it was right to raise.

  31. I am part of a group that is in the process of starting a new town built around a yeshiva/kollel with 200 houses to start, brand new single family houses 2500 sq ft for 500K
    We will have schools and maybe even stores

    we hope to have details and meet event after Pesach

    • who is keeping the rest of the baalabatim out?

      if you have stores and they move in and start renovating the homes then the prices are not staying low…

      if you have stores who is making sure that the mall doesn’t become a kibbutz galiyos of former yeshiva students?

    • This is a perfect solution-if your group finds the best place to locate this city; a mix of low priced area and driving distance to Lakewood or Brooklyn.
      If you have some real estate guy with his agenda of cheap land in the South so he can make a killing, you’re setting yourself up for a needlessly difficult project. Please don’t trust anyone!!!
      Pennsylvania has plent of land as does far upstate NY(and the government is actively looking for investment

  32. To all those landlords who cry how everything is more expensive-this is not true. Mortgage rates were actually low of the low during COVID (I refinanced my low mortgage rate to even lower then).

    Basement prices went up during COVID when was shortage of apartments,and everyone started to charge market rate. I do not have basement, and my house expenses like electricity or taxes stay almost the same, and I live in Jackson. What did go up was food, salaries in Lakewood (just think that sub can charge $50/hour!).

    If you build addition, your taxes will for sure go up. If you buy a house and take mortgage at 7.5 percent vs 5 vs 2.5 percent like 6 years ago, you will pay much more. But not everyone bought a house, let’s admit this. And whoever did, is charging those prices for basement purely to make money. Like none forced you to buy house with basement for rent, lets be honest, and let’s also be honest that renting out is not chesed. And to the person who says how he charges whatever he does to stay in learning -its a little ironic, did you buy the house yourself or parents helped you? I would assume a yungerman would understand a pain of another yungerman.

    There is no way to stop inflation, but I doubt it hit everyone who charges for basement, and I don’t believe you are fully honest. Know your numbers. I do not have basement, and don’t need to justify what I charge, and I have to pay for groceries and babysitter and tuition,too.

  33. This all is ironic.
    A lot of learning people look down on people who work.
    Maybe if everyone treated everyone better, Hashem would help us all. We have zero parental help and both work to raise our children. I remember how people who were in kolel and worked in playgroup for 2k, started to buy houses on Sims. This is magical economy of Lakewood yeshivah world.

    • Why is there any talk of landlord mortgages The typical basement of a lakewood home is LESS than a third of the home’s square footage yet landlord’s in the lakewood community believe that the tenant is expected to pay for the upstairs accommodation
      It doesn’t make any sense
      Tenants should band together to force their landlords To charge commensurate pricing for the accommodation that they provide.

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