Manhattan rents continue to fall, inventory doubles as ongoing result of pandemic

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Over a year later, Manhattan rents are continuing to fall as a result of the pandemic.

According to a new report from StreetEasy.com, asking rents have been dropping consistently throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. During the first quarter of 2021, the StreetEasy Rent Index dropped by 16.8% year-over-year in Manhattan, with rents falling to a new low of $2,700 a month. During the first quarter of 2020, the median asking rent in Manhattan was $3,417.

According to the report’s findings, Manhattan saw a new low overall, certain neighborhoods had bigger declines than others. Midtown saw a 14.8% decline during the first quarter of this year, the most dramatic decrease in the borough, falling to a median price of $2,895. Following close behind is the Upper East Side, dropping 13.9% to $2,400.

Compared to the rest of the borough, Upper Manhattan — covering Washington Heights, Harlem and Inwood — has the lowest decrease in rents with a 9.4% drop. The median asking rent for the area was $2,150, the lowest it has been since 2015.

According to StreetEasy’s findings, New York City renters also found a record number of rentals offering free months of rent. In Manhattan, 44.2% of landlords advertised a concession in the form of at least one month’s rent, which is 22 percentage points higher year-over-year.

During the first quarter of 2021, the amount of rental inventory in Manhattan was more than twice as high compared to the first quarter of 2020. Though the inventory has doubled, the report found that the number of available apartments has fallen for the past two quarters. However, it is believed that rental activity will pick up over the summer of 2021.

“With the weather getting warmer and more people rolling up their sleeves to get vaccinated, New Yorkers are starting to feel a sense of normalcy. As this continues, the rate that apartments come off the market will continue to ramp up,” said StreetEasy economist Nancy Wu.“Renters don’t need to rush to sign a new lease this second to claim a great deal, though. It will take time for prices to rebound. But the rentals market does react to economic activity much more quickly than the sales market. As the city continues to recover, competition will slowly start to pick up.”

Read the full report at streeteasy.com.

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