Landlords continue to dole out rent concessions in New York City in a frantic bid to fill vacancies. More than half of all rentals in Manhattan now include some form of concession, according to a new report published by Miller Samuel on Thursday.
Overall, the median monthly rental price in Manhattan (net of promotions) dropped to $3,161 in August, a year-over-year decline of 7.7%. The median price of studios has dropped the most (8.6%) in the last year, to $2,574, while two-bedrooms fell the least (1.5%), to $4,756.
Overall, more than 5% of Manhattan rentals are currently vacant. Last year that figure hovered blow 2%.
Still, for landlords, the worst may finally have passed. “With a nominal month over month uptick in new lease signings, activity appeared to bottom last month,” says Jonathan Miller, who compiled the report.
Similar trends are playing out in New York City’s other boroughs, with changes varying based on apartment size. The average monthly price for a studio dropped 12.9% in the last 12 months, to $2,328. However, the mean price of a two-bedroom actually rose 2.1%, to $3,725.
In Queens, meanwhile, the best bargains are on apartments with three or more bedrooms, whose mean price has dropped 17.4%, to $3,253. Average prices for studios ($2,554) and two-bedrooms ($3,665) are each down a modest 1.2%.
For those looking to purchase homes, now may be a good time to buy. Mortgage rates are at rock bottom, and new listings in New York City soared 87% year-over-year in July, according to StreetEasy.
“COVID-19 has exacerbated the weakness in the Manhattan sales market. If the sellers that have returned to the market are serious about making a sale, they will have to lower their prices accordingly,” StreetEasy economist Nancy Wu said in a report published last month.
Hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers, particularly those from wealthier enclaves, fled the city amid the onset of the pandemic. Some holed up upstate or at ultra-luxury estates in the Hamptons, while others ventured to the suburbs or other parts of the country.
There are concerns that many will leave the city for good, depriving New York of the tax dollars vital for subway improvements, education investments, and pension plans.
As it stands, the city’s subway system faces a reported “doomsday” scenario that will require it to cut service by 40% in the absence of federal aid.
“Without this additional federal funding, we will be forced to take draconian measures, the impact of which will be felt across the system and the region for decades to come,” the Metropolitan Transportation Authority chairman said.
Even six months into the pandemic, it is still too early to predict how New York City will emerge from the other side of the crisis.