Robert Peruzzi was so determined to rent the fifth-floor walk-up he had seen on Irving Place that he was willing to outbid another potential tenant and pay $250 more than the original asking rent.
Mr. Peruzzi, 35, now shells out $3,750 a month for the one-bedroom, which has exposed brick, a fireplace and a vaulted ceiling. It is far pricier than one-bedrooms in several full-service elevator buildings in the same neighborhood.
“It was all the drama of a sale — for a fifth-floor walk-up,” said Corlie Ohl, the Citi Habitats broker who represented Mr. Peruzzi, a vice president for finance of an e-commerce company. “Unbelievable.”
There may be plenty of developers battling to outdo one another with glassy skyscraper condominiums and over-the-top amenities, but their antics don’t seem to have affected one of the most time-honored forms of housing in the city, the walk-up apartment, which continues to hold its own. Indeed, over the past year, the average monthly rent for luxury walk-up one-bedrooms (those priced in the top 10 percent), rose 5.7 percent, while that for one-bedrooms in full-service elevator buildings increased just 0.5 percent, according to data from Citi Habitats.
And the number of walk-ups sold over the past year has jumped nearly 64 percent, whereas the increase was 22 percent for units in full-service buildings, according to the appraisal firm Miller Samuel. Over the past year, Miller Samuel also found that the price of walk-ups has surged nearly 22 percent, versus less than 2 percent for units in full-service buildings.
“There is a new generation of renters out there who don’t need a doorman, and want something unique and different,” said Jordan Sachs, the president of the real estate brokerage firm Bold New York. “Walk-ups can offer a wonderful combination of old prewar New York mixed with new design, and that can be hard to find in a cookie-cutter doorman building.”