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New York City rents drop by 14% in year, but remain highest in area

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Even after a year of crisis, departure, and decline, New York City remains the most expensive city in the area, according to a new report from Zumper.

“New York City was the most expensive market, with one-bedrooms priced at $2,530,” read the report, which aggregates last month’s active listings and then analyzes them to find the median rate. Fort Lee, at $2,520, came second – but only by $10. 

Although New York City’s rent remains the highest, its decline, compared to that of neighboring cities, has been precipitous; at 14%, New York City and Hoboken both shared the largest year-by-year decline. These two cities’ urbanity, which made them more a viral risk, paired with their relative wealth – both are in the area’s top-five most expensive markets – may have been the cause of this, as more affluent residents could afford to flee to more rural and suburban locales during the pandemic. 

This shift is clearly reflected in Zumper’s numbers: Long Branch and Hackensack, two cities in eastern New Jersey, saw their median rents jump a stunning 15.9% and 14.7% in the past year, respectively, an amount proportionate with the drops in nearby Hoboken and New York City. Nonetheless, the gap, though closing, remains wide: New York City’s rent remains, on average, $500 more than that of Hoboken’s. 

As such, for lower- and middle-income residents, options across the Hudson and above the City remain the most affordable: Jersey City and Yonkers remain around the New York State’s median of $1,874, while rents in East Orange, at $1,330, represent the area’s lowest. 

Although rents in the City continue to go down, and those in the nearby suburbs continue to increase, we can expect this trend to slow, as the pandemic wanes, and more people return to the City. Already, this can be seen in the numbers, as New York City’s rents, after months of slide, begin to tick slowly upward.

To see the full report, visit zumper.com.

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