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Old 02-19-2010, 10:48 PM
 
208 posts, read 372,774 times
Reputation: 74

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Hi Everyone,

I'm currently evaluating several relocation candidates and trying to narrow my choices to a workable list of places to visit. Cost of living and specifically, rental rates, are of vital importance. I'm interested ideally, in a two bedroom house but will definitely consider a one bedroom apartment if that's all I can afford. I want something as close to the French Quarter as possible, i.e., Bywater, Faubourg Marigny, CBD and Midtown but would settle for Metairie or Kenner, if necessary.

In order to evaluate areas in this regard, I've been using the city-data.com detailed profiles for each of my candidates. However, recently a participant on the General U.S. forum who lives in another of my relocation candidates, told me that the average rents I'd quoted from that city's detailed profile were much too low - anywhere from $400-600 too low.

So, now I'm wondering if I may need to reassess my method of determining what sort of cost of living I might be facing when I move. Maybe the website's data is outdated. Maybe I'm misreading the information provided there. On the other hand, maybe the abovementioned participant's viewpoint is skewed by his relatively high income level.

In posting here, I'm hoping to gain the benefit of the experiences of those who live in New Orleans or are otherwise familiar with current rental rates there. I have copied and pasted the following excerpt from the city-data.com detailed profile for New Orleans. Can you tell me if these figures are up-to-date and accurate?

//www.city-data.com/housing/hou...Louisiana.html

Median contract rent in 2008: $742 (lower quartile is $572, upper quartile is $975)

Btw, I have tried to obtain accurate cost of living figures by using websites which feature cost of living calculators and salary calculators, only to find that the figures provided vary dramatically from one site to the next.

Anything you can tell me will be greatly appreciated.

P.S. YEA SAINTS!!!
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Old 02-21-2010, 02:07 PM
 
152 posts, read 437,035 times
Reputation: 72
Well as far as rent is concerned, my room-mates and I pay $1450 for a 3-4 bedroom (the 4rth bedroom is really a giant common room in the back), 2.5 bath a block off of St. Charles near Carrollton. The closer you get to the Quarter the more expensive rent may become, although I think there can still be good rates to be found in Bywater. When I talk to others from around the city and immediate vicinity they say my rent is high, but I have looked around and havent found much lately for less. Hopefully I can find cheaper by the end of my lease.

If you live in Metairie or Kenner you will need a car to get downtown, or friends with cars. Public transport here is at best unreliable. The street cars run a relatively useless route, they offer teh best service to Tulane and Loyola students going downtown from campus, and tourists. From my place there is 1 grocery store in a reasonable distance on the streetcar route that i can think of. Not to mention they dont run on a nice timely schedule, so expect to wait anywhere from 1 minute to and hour for one. They love to all get bunched up and run right behind each other, it is really frustrating when you really need to get somewhere in a timely manner. Definately not a solution for transport to and from work. Traffic isnt bad, by other cities standards, if you drive. I think there are a select group that will try and pass this city as a bicycle city but its really not. You can get places by bike but it is not really bicycle friendly. If you live in Jefferson Parish then a bike will serve you about 0 use if you work in the city. Metairie and Kenner, as well as a few other areas are part of Jefferson. The public busses are not run by the same company, so you will have to ride for a while then switch from Jeff parish public transport to RTA. I rarely see busses with bike racks and street cars have no acomodations as well. Remember too that this is a city built on a swamp and it rains 75% of the time if not more. So you will get wet on a bike.

I have a few friends who are lucky enough to live within blocks of their place of employment, but they tend to work in cafes and coffee shops.

Back to cost of living.

I own a truck and pay full coverage insurance for it at around $120 monthly. Im a 28 year old male. If you are lucky jeff parish auto insurance is less andmulticar etc. rural areas are even less. I have friends slightly younger than me paying much much more. Before i turned 25 i was paying $225/month. Gas is aroung $2.50 per gallon here sometimes higher sometimes lower depending on where you go. Same chain stations will charge different prices depending on the part of the city they are in. Higher earning/income houshold areas get higher prices, lower gets lower. Now that I think about it I wonder if thats legal. Any way do your math for your cars milage and figure if you live Uptown youll probably drive maybe 10-20 miles a day unless you work really close to home. Metairie Kenner maybe 15-20 miles daily. Gentilly is about the same as Met and Ken unless you live there and work in Met or Kenner. Then expect around 30-50 daily. NO East is much farther and North Shore is very very far away. The West Bank is really close to Downtown but there is some crappy traffic over the bridge at rush hour. There are areas farther out on the west bank that obviously require driving. Look at a map and compare distances and figure out your mileage etc. Oh and there is a toll if you are coming from the west bank to the CBD unless you go way out of the way to the Huey P.

If you eat out a lot expect to have really really high eating expenses. A guy I worked with from California told me food here is more expensive than where he was from and far poorer quality. Walmart/Sams club might be the cheapest places for groceries. WinnDixie isnt too bad and a few others around are much more. I spend anywhere from $80-$100 a week on groceries, but im working on that. I like to eat well. If you eat ramen every meal then you'll obviously spend less.

Going out and drinking can be both cheap or expensive depending on where you go. It isnt a big night club city, more of a pub town. There aer a few places where you can get $1 beers.

Utilities rape us. Entergy is the only power company and Sewage and Water board is the only water/lp gas company. Thre are now a few garbage pick up companies so at least there is a choice there. Now some competition exists for Cox Cable, i.e. Direct TV and a few others if you are in their territory. Water should never cost more than $30 a person. So if its just you then that price unless you like long hot showers. Watering gardens is nothing cause it rains all the time and the water table is like 1 foot below surface. In the summer electricity is bad they charge a little more I think and you NEED air conditioning, unless you like your house to hover in the 80 degree range with 100% humidity at night. Oh and I forgot to mention that you might want to budget for an ever so common water bill around $800 3 months after you move in. We got one and my boss got one and a few other people i know got them. Its the companies sorry attempt at recouping lost revenues due to Katrina. They didnt read the meters for 6 months to a year post storm and when they finally get around to it they charge for all those leaks and usage by construction crews and stuff. Electricty bill for the three of us in the summer is around $225 a month. Every house here is drafty and uninsulated with a few exceptions for newly built or fresh renovations. I lived with my sister for a while in a newly renovated apaprtment and in the fall and winter our electricity bill was $90 and summer was $120 but they increased the rates since then.

Lets see what else counts. Cell phones are the same here, same with med insurance I assume, I dont have health insurance cant afford it and it isnt provided at work. Old Algiers has some col houses, I dont know what rent is like but the ferry runs pretty regular and picks up right there and drops off in the quarter basically. Its free if you are a pedestrian, i dont know about a bike though. Um cable rates are posted on the companies websites. Im not too familiar with sports ticket rates. It also depends on how you want to live. If you can get by with well below median poverty level and collect welfare you can actually do really well here oddly. Oh I have a friend who just knabbed a 1.5 bdrm loft in Bywater that is subsidized, not section 8, and gets 60% of rent covered if he and his girlfriend fall below a certain income level. They end up paying about $650 a month, but there is a 1.5 year long waiting list to get in there. Its funny that subsuduzed places have waiting lists and not super high income units.

I had a bad experience trying to get into a 3 bedroom before this place. The landlord would not budge on the rent she wanted because she knew if she held to the higher charge she could eventually find someone with section 8 vouchers and would garuntee her recieving her high rent she was asking, instead of going down a bit for my roommates and me. Very strange but ti happens here a lot. Most low income areas would rather rent to section 8 because they are garunteed payments, instead of coming down on the price and renting to people who dont collect section 8 assistance. I am stuck in this paygrade where I make too much for government assistance and not enough to live better. So I live like im on welfare without actually collecting it, it sucks.
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Old 02-21-2010, 05:44 PM
 
Location: Mostly in my head
19,865 posts, read 57,982,807 times
Reputation: 19187
There is an old and small duplex next to my son's house in Old Metairie that rents for $1200/mo/each side. Not sure if 1 or 2 bedroom but looks big enough for 2 small bedrooms. Nothing much done to it in years; yard is only partially fenced. About 2 blocks from a busline. I personally wouldn't want it at $900/mo!

Rents went up substantially after Hurricane Katrina due to loss of housing stock. Not sure how far back down they have come.
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Old 02-21-2010, 06:33 PM
 
1,347 posts, read 2,051,231 times
Reputation: 945
You can find something comparable to that and possibly cheaper in the city.
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Old 02-21-2010, 06:46 PM
 
1,373 posts, read 2,425,177 times
Reputation: 1043
Oh the cost of homeowners insurance is threw the roof, guarentee if a landlord insures a moderate apartment is gona spend a few hundred dollars a month on insurance.
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Old 02-21-2010, 07:09 PM
 
1,347 posts, read 2,051,231 times
Reputation: 945
I live Uptown for $700 a month. Its not the nicest place but its a safe area generally...

I see now that the Super Bowl and Mardi Gras are over the pessimists are out.
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Old 02-21-2010, 07:57 PM
 
208 posts, read 372,774 times
Reputation: 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nico82NO View Post
Well as far as rent is concerned, my room-mates and I pay $1450 for a 3-4 bedroom (the 4rth bedroom is really a giant common room in the back), 2.5 bath a block off of St. Charles near Carrollton. The closer you get to the Quarter the more expensive rent may become, although I think there can still be good rates to be found in Bywater. When I talk to others from around the city and immediate vicinity they say my rent is high, but I have looked around and havent found much lately for less. Hopefully I can find cheaper by the end of my lease.

If you live in Metairie or Kenner you will need a car to get downtown, or friends with cars. Public transport here is at best unreliable. The street cars run a relatively useless route, they offer teh best service to Tulane and Loyola students going downtown from campus, and tourists. From my place there is 1 grocery store in a reasonable distance on the streetcar route that i can think of. Not to mention they dont run on a nice timely schedule, so expect to wait anywhere from 1 minute to and hour for one. They love to all get bunched up and run right behind each other, it is really frustrating when you really need to get somewhere in a timely manner. Definately not a solution for transport to and from work. Traffic isnt bad, by other cities standards, if you drive. I think there are a select group that will try and pass this city as a bicycle city but its really not. You can get places by bike but it is not really bicycle friendly. If you live in Jefferson Parish then a bike will serve you about 0 use if you work in the city. Metairie and Kenner, as well as a few other areas are part of Jefferson. The public busses are not run by the same company, so you will have to ride for a while then switch from Jeff parish public transport to RTA. I rarely see busses with bike racks and street cars have no acomodations as well. Remember too that this is a city built on a swamp and it rains 75% of the time if not more. So you will get wet on a bike.

I have a few friends who are lucky enough to live within blocks of their place of employment, but they tend to work in cafes and coffee shops.

Back to cost of living.

I own a truck and pay full coverage insurance for it at around $120 monthly. Im a 28 year old male. If you are lucky jeff parish auto insurance is less andmulticar etc. rural areas are even less. I have friends slightly younger than me paying much much more. Before i turned 25 i was paying $225/month. Gas is aroung $2.50 per gallon here sometimes higher sometimes lower depending on where you go. Same chain stations will charge different prices depending on the part of the city they are in. Higher earning/income houshold areas get higher prices, lower gets lower. Now that I think about it I wonder if thats legal. Any way do your math for your cars milage and figure if you live Uptown youll probably drive maybe 10-20 miles a day unless you work really close to home. Metairie Kenner maybe 15-20 miles daily. Gentilly is about the same as Met and Ken unless you live there and work in Met or Kenner. Then expect around 30-50 daily. NO East is much farther and North Shore is very very far away. The West Bank is really close to Downtown but there is some crappy traffic over the bridge at rush hour. There are areas farther out on the west bank that obviously require driving. Look at a map and compare distances and figure out your mileage etc. Oh and there is a toll if you are coming from the west bank to the CBD unless you go way out of the way to the Huey P.

If you eat out a lot expect to have really really high eating expenses. A guy I worked with from California told me food here is more expensive than where he was from and far poorer quality. Walmart/Sams club might be the cheapest places for groceries. WinnDixie isnt too bad and a few others around are much more. I spend anywhere from $80-$100 a week on groceries, but im working on that. I like to eat well. If you eat ramen every meal then you'll obviously spend less.

Going out and drinking can be both cheap or expensive depending on where you go. It isnt a big night club city, more of a pub town. There aer a few places where you can get $1 beers.

Utilities rape us. Entergy is the only power company and Sewage and Water board is the only water/lp gas company. Thre are now a few garbage pick up companies so at least there is a choice there. Now some competition exists for Cox Cable, i.e. Direct TV and a few others if you are in their territory. Water should never cost more than $30 a person. So if its just you then that price unless you like long hot showers. Watering gardens is nothing cause it rains all the time and the water table is like 1 foot below surface. In the summer electricity is bad they charge a little more I think and you NEED air conditioning, unless you like your house to hover in the 80 degree range with 100% humidity at night. Oh and I forgot to mention that you might want to budget for an ever so common water bill around $800 3 months after you move in. We got one and my boss got one and a few other people i know got them. Its the companies sorry attempt at recouping lost revenues due to Katrina. They didnt read the meters for 6 months to a year post storm and when they finally get around to it they charge for all those leaks and usage by construction crews and stuff. Electricty bill for the three of us in the summer is around $225 a month. Every house here is drafty and uninsulated with a few exceptions for newly built or fresh renovations. I lived with my sister for a while in a newly renovated apaprtment and in the fall and winter our electricity bill was $90 and summer was $120 but they increased the rates since then.

Lets see what else counts. Cell phones are the same here, same with med insurance I assume, I dont have health insurance cant afford it and it isnt provided at work. Old Algiers has some col houses, I dont know what rent is like but the ferry runs pretty regular and picks up right there and drops off in the quarter basically. Its free if you are a pedestrian, i dont know about a bike though. Um cable rates are posted on the companies websites. Im not too familiar with sports ticket rates. It also depends on how you want to live. If you can get by with well below median poverty level and collect welfare you can actually do really well here oddly. Oh I have a friend who just knabbed a 1.5 bdrm loft in Bywater that is subsidized, not section 8, and gets 60% of rent covered if he and his girlfriend fall below a certain income level. They end up paying about $650 a month, but there is a 1.5 year long waiting list to get in there. Its funny that subsuduzed places have waiting lists and not super high income units.

I had a bad experience trying to get into a 3 bedroom before this place. The landlord would not budge on the rent she wanted because she knew if she held to the higher charge she could eventually find someone with section 8 vouchers and would garuntee her recieving her high rent she was asking, instead of going down a bit for my roommates and me. Very strange but ti happens here a lot. Most low income areas would rather rent to section 8 because they are garunteed payments, instead of coming down on the price and renting to people who dont collect section 8 assistance. I am stuck in this paygrade where I make too much for government assistance and not enough to live better. So I live like im on welfare without actually collecting it, it sucks.
Thanks for the detailed and informative reply, Nico82NO. I'm really glad you replied to my message because, though I didn't ask about some of the subjects you've covered, they are things I'd wondered about, nevertheless. At one point, pre-Izzy and pre-Katrina, I had actually researched New Orleans to a far greater extent than most of my other candidates. There were some things I thought I'd understood and could count on but reading your reply tonight, I realize that some of these things have changed and maybe some of the others were never as I'd thought.

I prefer cloudy weather without rain to any other type of weather but I prefer rain to sunshine, so lots of rain is good....er, unless I have to get somewhere in it. Humidity is a good thing in my opinion and some of my minor, miscellaneous health problems seem to respond well to it. On the other hand, I've heard that the New Orleans humidity is horrible in the Summer.

My earlier research had led me to the conclusion that auto traffic is pretty bad, which is one reason I'd wanted to live close to the French Quarter, but that one could get around well on a bicycle or via public transportation. And now, reading your reply, it appears I may have had it backwards. Could I have fallen for some slick public relations pieces? If I lived in Metairie or Kenner, I would probably try to work in those same towns but must be able to get to the French Quarter on nights and weekends. It is my understanding that to park anywhere near the FQ is to all but guarantee that your car will be stolen or vandalized and apparently, paid parking only slightly improves your chances in that regard. Also, I'm not sure public transportation would even be running during the hours I'd be leaving the FQ.

Your auto insurance rates sound pretty typical for your age group. The gas prices are close to what I'm accustomed to. Many cities now have discount warehouse concept grocery chains, where you can find some very reasonable prices on food. I'm surprised that New Orleans doesn't have a lot of these. Imho, such a business would do very well in New Orleans.

As far as collecting welfare, I thought you pretty much had to be disabled or something of a similar circumstance to get that and I am generally healthy. For $650 to be 40% of the rent for a 1 1/2 bedroom loft seems pretty expensive to me but you stated that the assistance only kicks in if your friend and his girlfriend fall below a specific income level and I'm guessing that they do not always qualify for the assistance, right?

Some problems I can deal with in the interest of getting my foot in the door of the community. I've lived on a severe budget in the past and can certainly do it again. One of the ways I've done this is to establish that budget and stick to it. Of course, giant, surprise utility bills could really mess with the effectiveness of my strategy. I've read on other message boards that one should definitely not move to New Orleans without a good, long visit in advance. As that post stated, "New Orleans is not for everyone."

I've eliminated New Orleans several times from my candidates list because it did not fit some of my more practical criteria. Still, its unique, one-of-a-kind charms, mystique and the live-and-let-live attitude of its people keep compelling me to reinstate it as not only a candidate but a finalist. It just seems I've been drawn there for a very long time, even since childhood.

You've certainly given me a lot to think about and I'll definitely do my homework before taking that leap of faith.
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Old 02-21-2010, 08:10 PM
 
208 posts, read 372,774 times
Reputation: 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by SouthernBelleInUtah View Post
There is an old and small duplex next to my son's house in Old Metairie that rents for $1200/mo/each side. Not sure if 1 or 2 bedroom but looks big enough for 2 small bedrooms. Nothing much done to it in years; yard is only partially fenced. About 2 blocks from a busline. I personally wouldn't want it at $900/mo!

Rents went up substantially after Hurricane Katrina due to loss of housing stock. Not sure how far back down they have come.
It does sound expensive for that type of unit and condition. I prefer a small two bedroom house to an apartment but will compromise if I have to. Seems like I'd read somewhere in the past that shotgun houses were the most economical of housing options in New Orleans and very plentiful, as well.

I've heard conflicting reports on the rents, Post-Katrina but cannot ignore that there seem to be many accounts of rents increasing due to both the demand issue and the cost and availability of materials for repairs.

Thanks for your help, SouthernBelleInUtah.
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Old 02-21-2010, 08:15 PM
 
208 posts, read 372,774 times
Reputation: 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by waitingtundra View Post
Oh the cost of homeowners insurance is threw the roof, guarentee if a landlord insures a moderate apartment is gona spend a few hundred dollars a month on insurance.
Yeah, and I guess they'd have to pass on those increased costs to tenants in the form of higher rents.

Thanks waitingtundra.
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Old 02-21-2010, 08:47 PM
 
208 posts, read 372,774 times
Reputation: 74
Quote: Prytania - You can find something comparable to that and possibly cheaper in the city.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Prytania View Post
I live Uptown for $700 a month. Its not the nicestPrytaniaYou can find something comparable to that and possibly cheaper in the city. place but its a safe area generally...

I see now that the Super Bowl and Mardi Gras are over the pessimists are out.
Ah Prytania, the lone voice of constructive dissent. I have noticed your posts on the General U.S. forum and have, over time, formed a favorable impression of your opinions and the manner in which you state them. It has occurred to me that you do not have any axes to grind with regard to New Orleans or any other topic I'm aware of. For these reasons and more, I certainly value your insights. I had actually thought of approaching you in the past for information about New Orleans but I had so many questions they formed a bottleneck jam in my throat.

When you say I can find something comparable and even cheaper in the city, can you be more specific? What type of units can I get for $700/mo: studio apartment, one bedroom apartment, two bedroom aparment....dare I even hope - a small two bedroom house? I remember the general location of Uptown but not really sure of the boundaries. Are these types of rentals plentiful or rare? Could I find something in a comparable price range in Bywater, Marigny or Midtown, (maybe the correct name is MidCity. You know, it's the neighborhood that borders the big park)? I know that the CBD is more of a commercial neighborhood but does have some housing opportunities. Could I find something in this price range there? And what about safety? I believe that common sense and awarness of one's surroundings goes along way in deterring crime. Still, I don't want to have to wear a bullet-proof vest each time I leave the house or booby-trap my doors and windows.

So pleeeaassse Prytania, tell me something good about New Orleans but only if you really believe it.
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