Rents hit record highs in Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan in 2019: StreetEasy

The rental and sales markets are moving in opposite directions, a senior economist at StreetEasy said.

It’s a buyers market in the city these days, but a renter’s nightmare.  

Median rents are at record highs in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens, according to the August 2019 StreetEasy Market Reports, while sales inventory growth has slowed and home prices have dropped or plateaued.

“It’s unusual for the rentals and sales market to move in opposite directions for long stretches of time, but that’s the pattern we’ve been seeing for more than a year now. With so much uncertainty around what’s going to happen to the sales market in the near term, many would-be buyers are choosing to continue renting instead,” according to a statement from Grant Long, senior economist at StreetEasy.  

The StreetEasy rent indexes are based on data starting in 2007 for Manhattan, 2010 for Brooklyn, and 2012 for Queens and includes repeat rentals only. The price indexes track changes in resale prices of condo, co-op and town house units. Data collection for Manhattan dates back to 1995 and for Brooklyn and Queens, to 2007. 

According to the report, median rental prices are up in every submarket of the three boroughs — rising at their fastest pace since 2016.  

Median Brooklyn rents reached a record in 2019, up 3.5% year-over-year to $2,695, according to the data. Northwest Brooklyn experienced the fastest rate of rent growth, with rents up $100 from one year ago — a 3.5% increase — to reach $3,115. Manhattan had the highest rents, increasing at its fastest pace — at 3% — in more than three years, to reach a record $3,309 median rent in August. 

In Queens, the going rate for a rental was up 3.5% year-over-year, reaching $2,198 — and rents also rose in all submarkets of the borough. Rents in northwest Queens, the borough’s most expensive submarket (which includes Astoria, Long Island City, Sunnyside and Ditmars-Steinway), jumped 2.9% to a new high for the area, hitting $2,318 in 2019.

Some of the priciest markets around the boroughs experienced the biggest increases in rents. In Manhattan, the city’s most expensive submarket (which includes Civic Center, Financial District, TriBeCa, Stuyvesant Town, SoHo, Little Italy, Lower East Side, Chinatown, Battery Park City, Gramercy Park, Chelsea, The Village, Flatiron and NoLIta) rose by 2.8% to a new high of $3,809 in 2019.

In addition to higher going rates, landlords in the three boroughs were also less likely than before to offer concessions — such a free month rent on a 13-month lease — according to the data. The decreases in concessions advertised by landlords ranged from a slight dip of 0.6% in Queens to 2.4% in Brooklyn. 

“With this added demand from renters, concessions have also become harder to find as landlords remain confident they’ll find a renter willing to pay what they’re asking. New Yorkers looking to sign a new lease this fall should be prepared for tougher negotiations and increased competition on the market,” Long said in a statement.

While rents were up, sales moved in the opposite direction.

In Manhattan, the report says sales prices “plunged” — falling 4.9% to reach April 2015 levels with a median $1,098,104 asking price. Inventory growth also hit the slowest rate since March 2018, increasing only 5.9%. In Brooklyn, home prices saw the biggest drop since 2012, falling by 2.4% to $691,224. Queens prices remained steady this year at $514,233. 

KEY FINDINGS BY BOROUGH

MANHATTAN:

  • Rental units advertising concessions decreased 1.3 percentage points to 13.6%;
  • Median asking rent for 1-bedroom apartments jumped 7.5% to $3,350;
  • The number of homes on the market increased just 5.9%, the slowest rate since March 2018.

BROOKLYN:

  • Rental units advertising concessions decreased to 11.7%, the lowest among boroughs;
  • Median asking rent for 1-bedroom apartments jumped 15.9% to $3,200;
  • Home sale prices fell at the fastest pace since 2012.

QUEENS:

  • Rental units advertising concessions decreased 0.6 percentage points to 12.2%;
  • Median asking rent for 1-bedroom apartments in Northwest Queens jumped 7.1% to $2,195;
  • The number of homes on the market increased 7.6%.

Kate Pastor