Renters Fuel 30 Pct Hike In New Manhattan Leases

Manhattan real estate

Renters are returning to Manhattan after a pandemic-fueled exodus, causing a 30 percent surge in new leases compared to 2019, according to an Elliman Report analyzing November data.

Marking the strongest November in a dozen years, there were over 4,000 new leases signed with an average rent of $2,743. This is the biggest month-over-month inventory drop since the pandemic started spreading in March. 

Manhattan rent is down almost 22 percent, the largest year-over-year decline in nine years. In addition to lower rent, many landlords are throwing in two free months.  

Despite the recent uptick, a Manhattan real estate recovery is not expected for several years. It’s a renters’ and buyers’ market, with a large inventory of apartments, condos and co-ops, the report from Miller Samuel and Douglas Elliman indicated.

Unrented Manhattan apartments currently stand at 15,000, with a vacancy rate of a record 6 percent, compared to a typical 2 percent. When accounting for unlisted empty apartments, the actual Manhattan vacancy rate could be near 18 percent.

April through November, median monthly rent fell by $797 and listing inventory tripled to the third-biggest inventory on record, at 15,130, the report indicated.

Miller Samuel is an independent residential real estate appraisal and consulting company that covers the New York City metropolitan area.

Wells Fargo CEO Charlie Scharf said recently the economy will quickly rebound when the COVID-19 vaccines can be distributed to a wide number of people across the country. However, downtown centers in larger cities might not recover, as many physical retailers relocated to the outskirts. 

Manhattan rentals plummeted by 70.9 percent year over year, according to the May Douglas Elliman and Miller Samuel report. It was the most significant percentage decline ever recorded. Median rent in Manhattan was $3,650 in April, according to the report.

An April Harris poll indicated that 39 percent of city residents said they moved to less crowded areas due to the pandemic.