Real Estate

NYC Apartment Rents Plunge 21%, Even as New Leases Hit Record Highs

The median rent for a New York City apartment posted the biggest monthly decline in 13 years, even as new leases hit a 12-year high

NBC Universal, Inc.

Everyone's coming back to New York City ... and they're paying less than they have in years.

There were just over 9,000 new apartment leases signed in the city in April, the highest number ever recorded in a month, according to the new monthly market report from brokers DouglasElliman and appraisers Miller Samuel.

But all that demand came at a cost to landlords. The "net effective median rent," or rents minus landlord concessions, fell to $2,791.

That's down about 21 percent year over year, and it's also a drop of more than 6 percent in just one month -- the biggest month-on-month decline in NYC apartment rents since 2008. Some of that may be due to a flood of empty apartments raising the vacancy rate that is now nine percent higher than 2020.

The surge in demand as the city reopens is evident - just from March to April, the number of new lease signings surged 82 percent in Manhattan, 71 percent in Brooklyn and an eye-watering 224 percent in Queens.

What may be driving some of that demand is a little cabin fever. After a year of largely being stuck inside for most of the time, New Yorkers have grown weary of their cramped quarters and are on the hunt for new digs.

"You think to yourself, wow, maybe I can get a bigger apartment," said real estate broker Nikki Beauchamp. "Maybe I can get an apartment in a different neighborhood that was out of my reach before."

No matter the borough or apartment size, though, rents are plunging as landlords both cut prices and sweeten the pot with deals to entice tenants. With the exception of three-bedroom units in Queens, where prices actually rose slightly year over year, median rents are otherwise down double digits across the board.

It seems hard to imagine when life in New York will get back to normal but at a museum dedicated to the city, its history shows how New York City came back from another pandemic one century ago. Michael Gargiulo reports.

While it's been a buyer's market for some time now in regards to apartment hunting in NYC, that may not last long. With offices reopening and more cultural draws coming back — Broadway, museums, sports, etc. — haggling over pricing may become more challenging as the city that never sleeps wakes up from its pandemic slumber.

Contact Us