New York City rents hit record lows during the first quarter of 2021, but that could change as competition for apartments ramps over in the summer, according to a new report by StreetEasy.
Median rents in Manhattan dropped to $2,700 per month, the cheapest StreetEasy has recorded in over a decade. In comparison, the median rent in the borough was $3,417 at the same time last year.
Other boroughs were met with the biggest annual declines they’ve ever seen: The median rent in Brooklyn fell 10 percent year-over-year, hitting $2,390 — the lowest it’s been since 2011 .
In Queens, the median rent was $1,999, a 10.5 percent decline from the same time last year and the first time it dropped below $2,000 in eight years.
But the records don’t stop there. The first quarter was also filled with more concessions than the three boroughs have seen in years.
About 44 percent of landlords offered at least one month of free rent in Manhattan, the most StreetEasy has ever reported. Brooklyn and Queens also broke records, with 25.4 and nearly 27 percent of leases coming with some kind of concession, respectively.
The rent drops and concessions were driven by the number of available rental units. In the first quarter, listed apartments in Manhattan and Brooklyn were twice as high as they were around this time last year. In Queens, that number was 97 percent higher.
That could change: As more people get vaccinated, that number will start to fall as prospective tenants snatch up apartments at a faster rate, said StreetEasy economist Nancy Wu.
“It will take time for prices to rebound,” Wu said. “But the rentals market does react to economic activity much more quickly than the sales market. As the city continues to recover, competition will slowly start to pick up.”
But apartment seekers have some time to lock in a good deal — especially if they know where to look.
The median rent in Midtown hit $2,895, a 14.8 percent decline — and the biggest drop in the borough. The Upper East Side was a close second with rents falling by nearly 14 percent to $2,400.
Compared to the rest of the borough, Upper Manhattan had the smallest drop at 9.4 percent. But the median rent in neighborhoods like Washington Heights, Inwood and Harlem hit $2,150, the cheapest that has been since 2015.
The median rent for a one-bedroom in the North Brooklyn neighborhoods of Williamsburg and Greenpoint was $2,500 in the first quarter, the lowest it’s been in more than 10 years.
Rents in Queens were relatively stable compared to Manhattan and Brooklyn. Northwest Queens, which includes Astoria, Long Island City and Sunnyside, saw the biggest drop, with the median rent hitting $1,800, a 9 percent decline from last year.