Rents From Harlem To Hollis Drop For First Time In Decade, Study Says

August 5, 2020

Manhattan’s expensive rents have dropped for the first time in a decade as the coronavirus pandemic led to increasing uncertainty in the market.

According to a recent study conducted by the listing site StreetEasy.

The StreetEasy Manhattan Rental Index dropped 0.9 percent to $3,236 for the second quarter of 2020. The slight dip represents the first year-over-year decrease in the index since 2010, according to StreetEasy’s study.

StreetEasy’s rent indices track “asking rents change over time” using “the full history of listings submitted to StreetEasy by brokerages, property managers, and individual landlords,” according to the website’s methodology.

Apartments and homes at the higher end of Manhattan’s rental market saw the largest price drops, according to the study. Units in the 80th percentile or greater in terms of price saw rent decreases as high as 1.4 percent, according to the study.

Median rents also fell in the borough compared to the end of the second quarter last year, data collected by StreetEasy shows. The median rent for a Manhattan apartment in June 2020 was $3,300, compared to $3,395 in June 2019. The cuts represent a 6.7 decline and savings of about $221 per month for renters at the market’s median.

Declining rents have not prevented Manhattan landlords from offering discounts to prospective renters at record rates. Nearly 35 percent of all rental units in the borough are being offered with some sort of discount. The combination of declining rents and increasing discounts suggests that rental demand has plummeted in Manhattan. It may be related to the coronavirus pandemic, according to StreetEasy.

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“Landlords are in for a much slower than normal summer rentals season, even as the city slowly begins to reopen. Remote work has given many renters the option to live anywhere they please, making it too soon to predict when rents will rebound,” StreetEasy Economist Nancy Wu said in a statement.

One good sign for landlords: People are clicking on StreetEasy listings at higher rates than before the pandemic. Searches for Manhattan rentals are up 15 percent compared to the second quarter of 2019, which means prospective renters may be looking out for good deals. Still, the borough lagged behind Brooklyn, where searches rose 26 percent, and Queens, where searches rose 24 percent.

Read the full StreetEasy study here.

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