Mind the gap: Brooklyn rents catching up to Manhattan

Difference in June was $500, but don't expect lines to cross anytime soon

Jul.July 11, 2014 05:30 PM

Brooklyn rental prices may be rising, but they’re not a shoo-in to catch up with Manhattan just yet.

The difference between median rental prices in Manhattan and Brooklyn was $500 in June, according to Douglas Elliman’s monthly rental report. That’s up from a record low of $210 in February. But even at $500, the gap between the boroughs is far narrower than in February 2009, when there was a $1,465 difference. At that time, the median rent in Manhattan was $3,695 to Brooklyn’s $2,230.

Jonathan Miller, president of appraisal firm Miller Samuel and author of the Elliman report, said the gap started to narrow in 2010.

The compression picked up last summer during a period of record sales in Manhattan. “The sales market and rental market are, in many ways, competitors,” he said. “Rental demand started to weaken a bit because the fence sitters, even with tight credit, poured into the market.”

As a result, Manhattan rents dipped even as Brooklyn’s median rents continued to increase. “It accelerated the compression between the two markets,” Miller said.

He pointed out that in May and June of this year, the spread hovered at $500, indicating that prices aren’t on a collision course, despite earlier predictions.

In June, the median rental price rose 3.3 percent to $3,300 compared with Brooklyn, where median prices rose 2.3 percent to $2,800.

“I suspect we won’t see the lines cross anytime soon,” Miller said.

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