NYC rents are in free fall, now reaching record lows

 NYC rents are in free fall, now reaching record lows

It took a pandemic to soften the city’s notoriously high rents.

As many New Yorkers receive the COVID-19 vaccine and resume their normal lives, the rental market remains in the pits, according to the first quarter market report from listings portal StreetEasy, which found that city rents continue their free fall to record lows.

In Manhattan, for instance, median rents dipped to a brand-new low of $2,700 per month, marking the borough’s cheapest housing price recorded on StreetEasy since the site began tallying in 2010. That figure marks a significant year-over-year drop. By comparison, in the first quarter of 2020, and in the days right before New York’s COVID-19 outbreak, the median asking rent was more than $700 higher at $3,417 per month.

In Brooklyn, median rents slipped 10% year-over-year to $2,390 — its lowest level since 2011. Queens saw its prices slip to $1,999, the first time they’ve slid below $2,000 in eight years. That borough’s rents are down 10.5% year-over-year.

StreetEasy does not include The Bronx and Staten Island in these reports.

The latest figures show the downward trend has stayed consistent from the second quarter of 2020, or the earliest days of the pandemic in these parts. That quarter last year saw Manhattan rents drop for the first time since 2010, all due to the lack of demand for apartments as New Yorkers fled the city in droves.

Back then, the median Manhattan rent was $3,300.

Matters only worsened in the third quarter of 2020, when the same figure hit $2,990 — marking the first time it fell below $3,000 since 2011.

While this remains bad news for city landlords, locals on the hunt for a new rental apartment can snag some deals. Midtown saw the largest decline in median rents to $2,895. That’s down 14.8% from the same quarter last year. A close second: the Upper East Side, which slipped 13.9% year-over-year to $2,400.

In prime North Brooklyn, an area home to trendy Williamsburg and Greenpoint, renters can find a $2,500 median price for a one-bedroom unit — the area’s lowest in more than 10 years. And in northwest Queens, the borough’s priciest submarket — which includes Long Island City, Astoria and Sunnyside — rents slid 9% year-over-year to a median of $1,800.

In an effort to lure tenants in, city landlords are throwing in some serious extras. In Manhattan, more than 44% of landlords offered a concession of at least one month free rent on a 12-month lease — 22 percentage points higher year-over-year and the highest sum that StreetEasy has ever recorded. In Brooklyn and Queens, 25.4% and 26.6% of landlords, respectively, also gave concessions — a record high share for both boroughs. StreetEasy economist Nancy Wu is looking into when we might start to see the market heat up as renters make their return.