Manhattan, Brooklyn see flurry of new leases but owners get real about prices

Listing inventory up 40 percent year-over-year in Manhattan

TRD New York /
Sep.September 08, 2016 10:06 AM

Manhattan saw several new leases last month, but price growth continues to chug along at a glacial pace.

The median rental price hit $3,399 in August, virtually identical to the same time last year, according to Douglas Elliman’s latest market report. The number of new leases jumped to 6,285, a 1.8 percent year-over-year increase, but Jonathan Miller, the author of the Elliman report, said the influx of new inventory kept prices at bay. Listing inventory rose to 7,478, a 39.6 percent increase from the same time last year.

“There’s a lot of activity, but the growth of inventory is keeping the market in check,” he said.

Gary Malin, president of Citi Habitats, said that owners have finally “capitulated” and lowered prices to match the softening market. The price decreases, he said, led to a decrease in the vacancy rate (the Elliman report put the rate at 2.14 percent, down from 2.3 percent last year).

“Owners are openly recognizing market conditions,” he said. “There’s plenty of demand out there, they’re just looking for what they can afford.”

Like July, the share of new leases with landlord concessions saw a large spike in August, jumping to 12.1 percent — up from 7.4 percent in August 2015. The only price segment that saw increases to median rental price last month was the first 30 percentile — entry-level apartments — which had a 2.8 percent year-over-year increase to $2,359, according to the Elliman report.

The rental situation in Brooklyn closely mirrors Manhattan. The median rental price decreased for the second month in a row, dropping down to $2,895. The share of new rentals with landlord concessions doubled year-over-year, rising to 10.5 percent last month. Listing inventory rose 42.7 percent to 2,501, and the borough saw a 35.8 percent year-over-year jump in the number of new leases, which totaled 1,495 last month.

In Queens, the median rental price increased by 5.3 percent from the same time last year to $2,895. Miller said the price increase is skewed by the fact that most of the apartments were in new developments. The borough saw a 20.3 percent year-over-year increase in new leases, which rose to 355 last month.

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