Rents begin to increase again: Report

Closeup of red, white for rent sign attached, hanging on wooden apartment, house, home, building door with glass windows
Photo via Getty Images
Photo via Getty Images

After a year and a half of decline, New York City rents are beginning to increase, according to a new market report by StreetEasy.

“We’ve hit a point where rents are now beginning to tick up,” read the report, which gathers rental data across the City’s five boroughs and then calculates a median for each.

Although the changes remain in the double digits, the trend lines are clear across all five boroughs. Manhattan’s rent, which saw the most precipitous drop, has seen an increase by $60, to $2,860; Brooklyn and Queens saw increases by $49 and $50, to $2,449 and $2,100, respectively.

“The vibrancy and energy of the city is returning, and the real estate market is following suit,” said StreetEasy economic Nancy Wu.

Although the pandemic and its economic fallout resulted in a massive drop in prices – by some 16.8% in Manhattan, the steepest decline in decades – it is clear that predictions of a more permanent exodus from the City have not been borne out.

No sooner had vaccinations been given and COVID fears assayed then the decline, which some said might be permanent, reversed.

Ironically, the drop in prices over the past year has been a factor in their increase today, as buyers and renters, watching the decline, rushed to sign.

Although Manhattan saw the largest increase, it is Brooklyn that remains the hottest borough, said the report, with a “record high number of homes entering contract for the third month in a row.”

In Manhattan and Queens, as well, homes are selling fast, with the average home now on the market for 56 days; in January 2021, by comparison, they languished for as much as 116 days.

Nonetheless, it could be months before the City’s rents reach their pre-pandemic heights. “Competition is much higher now than it has been in the past year, but there is still lots of inventory to go around,” said Wu. “Sales prices still have room to fall.”

Manhattan remains the farthest from its pre-pandemic height; despite the last months’ increase, rent remains 18% lower than its March 2020 high of $3,500.

Yet, as the pandemic winds down, the economy re-opens, and people return to the City, we can expect that gap to close.