As we continue living in the “post-pandemic” world, leaving behind the attractively low rent prices of 2021 and transitioning back into the world where the median asking rent for an apartment in Downtown Manhattan is $4,200, living with a roommate might be the most efficient way to live in New York City without actually breaking the bank.
According to a recent study published by the roommate matching website SpareRoom, the average New York City roommate rent in 2021 was $1,189, a considerable drop of almost 8% compared to 2019 (pre-pandemic) when it was $1,290.
According to the data team, the city hasn’t seen rents this low since 2015, when they were $1,179.
“We knew the pandemic had a dramatic impact on New York, but we were shocked to see just how far rents fell,” said SpareRoom Director, Matt Hutchinson
Following the data collection, SpareRoom analysts separated the results into borough and neighborhood— where they found that roommate rent dropped in almost every part of the city, except for The Bronx, NYC’s historically cheapest borough (aside from Staten Island, which has very few roommates, according to SpareRoom).
In 2021 the roommate rent in The Bronx averaged $942, an increase of about 2.73% since 2019. Conversely, Manhattan, the most expensive borough in NYC, experienced the steepest drop in roommate rent price in 2021, averaging about $1,480, a -8.81% fall since 2019.
Between the two polarizing boroughs sat Queens, with an average roommate rent price of $1,004, a -3.55% drop since 2019, Brooklyn with $1,119 and a drop of -5.09%, and Staten Island with an average roommate rent of $856, seeing a drop of about -7.06% since 2019.
Looking a bit closer, SpareRoom discovered that a large majority of the neighborhoods that featured greater amounts of roommates, saw rent drops in the last two years, with the sharpest declines coming from some of the most expensive neighborhoods.
The top five included: Long Island City, the West Village, Hell’s Kitchen, Chelsea, and The Financial District. However, in contrast, over the course of the same two years, Woodside, Jamaica, and Flatbush – Ditmas Park, all reported an increase in roommate rents, according to SpareRoom data.
Although most of New York has exhibited decreased roommate rent, the SpareRoom data team determined that only five of The City’s most popular roommate neighborhoods had rents under $1,000.
The top three least expensive neighborhoods they found were Elmhurst, Queens, Jamaica, Queens, and East Flatbush, BK, all with roommate rent significantly below $1,000.
For those roommates on the hunt for cheap apartments, take advantage of the low prices while you still can, because according to SpareRoom, roommate rent is on the rebound and will soon return to its previous price point.
“Things are starting to turn around now,” said Hutchinson. “Rents began to climb again after a surge in demand towards the end of 2021, as people started to return to work and restrictions eased. Although Omicron has slowed momentum, early data suggests New York is starting to regain its appeal.”
“Time will tell how long it takes to regain its pre-pandemic status, but the signs are there that things are turning around,” he said.