Inside the Rent

CHPC Presents the Inside the Rent Web Game

mock_upRents in New York City are among the highest in the country, and many of its residents question why the new developments they see going up around them cannot include apartments at lower rents. Suspicion is often cast upon developers, who are commonly assumed to make inordinate profits off the backs of renters. And while for-profit developers certainly seek a healthy return on their investment, many other factors also contribute to explaining what makes rents in New York City high.

To contribute to the understanding of these issues, CHPC has created Inside the Rent, a web-based game for desktops and mobile devices that allows users to explore why rents in New York City are so high. The game is designed to raise the player’s awareness about the challenges of building new rental housing and the important role of government intervention in mitigating high rental costs, echoing some of the policy debates that are at the forefront of housing policy in New York City.

The game tasks players with planning a new rental building. They will succeed if the choices they make throughout the game allow the building to be financially sustainable through its first year of operations. To start, players are prompted to choose a neighborhood to build in -which will determine the land costs- and must select a target rent for an 800 square foot, two-bedroom apartment. They must next make choices about construction types, prevailing wages and the level of amenities that will be provided in the building.

If the rent necessary to cover costs is higher than the target rent chosen, the player can choose to provide subsidies or tax abatements that will bring down the development and operating costs. The player is encouraged to remember, though, that subsidies are limited and come at the expense of the taxpayer. The player can also decide to accept a higher rent than desired in all or in part of the building in order to make it financially sustainable.

The game operates on a simplified development budget that takes into account the total development costs of constructing the building and its first year of operations. For each choice the player makes, an assumption about the associated cost is used to calculate the rent required to cover the costs. Assumptions about soft costs, yield on cost, property taxes, and vacancy are also used in the calculation. These assumptions were the result of extensive conversations with appraisers, developers, architects, and lenders and are explained in detail here.

Inside the rent was made possible thanks to the generosity of JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Play Inside the Rent!

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  • Housing exhibition features Inside the Rent

    MCNY aff. housing promotional

    The Museum of the City of New York will open its latest exhibition Thursday, Affordable New York: A Housing Legacy, co-sponsored by CHPC.

    The exhibition will display numerous original materials from CHPC’s Marian Sameth and Ruth Dickler Archives and Library, and visitors will also be able to play CHPC’s Inside the Rent game on its very own terminal. The game has been revamped for the occasion with improved graphics and functionality!

    An opening symposium will kick off the exhibition featuring former Congressman Berney Frank, CHPC Board Chair Richard Roberts and CHPC Board Member Ron Moelis, among other guests.

    The exhibition is scheduled until February 16, 2016.

    Read more
  • Inside the Rent revamped!

    ipad imageCHPC is excited to announce the release of Inside the Rent v.2, a revamped version of our game that shows the cost of building new rental housing in New York City. Since its release last June Inside the Rent has attracted over 15,000 views and extensive media coverage. We have also received useful feedback that we have used to improve the game in this new version.

    In addition to getting a design make-over, the game has been optimized for display on tablets as well as desktops and mobile phones. Players will also find the new version easier to navigate thanks to the addition of a back button and will be able to explore different subsidy options more easily. The updated version also does away with the info button and presents all information in the main screen so that it cannot be missed.

    Read more
  • Inside the Rent: methodology and assumptions

    The Inside the Rent model is built upon a simplified development and first-year operating budget and relies on a series of assumptions, which we have researched, contrasted and vetted thoroughly with a wide array of industry professionals. The model first uses these assumptions to calculate the total development cost based on the options selected by the player. It then calculates the net operating income (NOI) required for the building, and adds operating expenses in order to solve for the necessary rent required for the building to be financially sustainable through its first year of operations.

    The model initially assumes that full property tax payments are required and that no government subsidies are available. If the player’s selections do not produce a financially sustainable building, options become available to bring down the development and/or operating costs of the building using direct government subsidies or property tax relief, or just to accept a higher rent.

    Read more

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A Closer Look at Building Operating Costs

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Last June, CHPC released Inside the Rent, an online game to help educate users about the cost of new construction and the role of government intervention. The game has been a big success and CHPC is now replicating the concept to create a new game focused on preservation of existing housing. The new preservation game will dissect the costs that building owners must undergo to keep their buildings operational over the long-term.

Part of our initial research has been to delve into data made available by the Rent Guidelines Board (RGB), the agency tasked with setting rent adjustments …

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Housing exhibition features Inside the Rent

MCNY aff. housing promotional

The Museum of the City of New York will open its latest exhibition Thursday, Affordable New York: A Housing Legacy, co-sponsored by CHPC.

The exhibition will display numerous original materials from CHPC’s Marian Sameth and Ruth Dickler Archives and Library, and visitors will also be able to play CHPC’s Inside the Rent game on its very own terminal. The game has been revamped for the occasion with improved graphics and functionality!

An opening symposium will kick off the exhibition featuring former Congressman Berney Frank, CHPC Board Chair Richard Roberts and CHPC Board Member Ron Moelis, among other guests.…

Read more

Inside the Rent revamped!

ipad imageCHPC is excited to announce the release of Inside the Rent v.2, a revamped version of our game that shows the cost of building new rental housing in New York City. Since its release last June Inside the Rent has attracted over 15,000 views and extensive media coverage. We have also received useful feedback that we have used to improve the game in this new version.

In addition to getting a design make-over, the game has been optimized for display on tablets as well as desktops and mobile phones. Players will also find the new version easier to …

Read more

Inside the Rent views reach 15,000

We are incredibly excited to announce that Inside the Rent has reached 15,000 views since the game was released in June! CHPC designed the game to educate players about the cost of building new rental housing in a fun and interactive way.

Inside the Rent has also received positive press coverage in numerous media outlets:

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Inside the Rent: methodology and assumptions

The Inside the Rent model is built upon a simplified development and first-year operating budget and relies on a series of assumptions, which we have researched, contrasted and vetted thoroughly with a wide array of industry professionals. The model first uses these assumptions to calculate the total development cost based on the options selected by the player. It then calculates the net operating income (NOI) required for the building, and adds operating expenses in order to solve for the necessary rent required for the building to be financially sustainable through its first year of operations.

The model initially assumes that …

Read more

Play Inside the Rent Now!

Click here for the game!

mock_up

CHPC is thrilled to release Inside the Renta new web-based game for desktops and mobile devices that allows users to explore why rents in New York City are so high. The game is designed to raise the player’s awareness about the challenges of building new rental housing without government intervention. With the imminent expiration of the 421-a property tax abatement legislation, questions about the cost of rental housing and the impact of tax abatements and other government subsidies are more relevant than ever.

Inside the Rent gives players a first-person experience of building …

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