Luxury rents up across the city

Number of new leases down Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens

TRD New York /
Jan.January 09, 2020 08:00 AM
(Credit: iStock)

(Credit: iStock)

The luxury rental market continues to strengthen, while the number of leases signed fell in Manhattan, Brooklyn and parts of Queens, according to this month’s Douglas Elliman rental report.

In Manhattan, luxury rents, defined as the top 10 percent of the market, had the highest median gain of the three boroughs, up 11.8 percent from the same period last year to $9,500.

According to Jonathan Miller, CEO of appraisal firm Miller Samuel, which prepared the report, a poor sales market at the high end — a result of the mansion tax and other policy changes — continued to drive gains.

“Would-be buyers are camping out in the rental market,” Miller said. “The sales market at the high end is driving the rental market at the high end — they dovetail perfectly.”

For the 12th straight month, rents with concessions were up year over year in Manhattan.

The vacancy rate on the island also ticked up. It has been climbing gradually since July, and the market share of deals with concessions — while they remain high, at 1.4 months of free rent — showed a slight annual decrease.

In Brooklyn, key metrics were rosy across the board.

Luxury rents rose 4.2 percent year over year in Kings County, to $6,000. The median rent, without concessions, rose 9.2 percent to $2,991, the highest in nearly six years, from the same period last year.

Those gains were matched with year-over-year gains in Brooklyn for all apartment sizes and a decline in landlord sweeteners to lure renters for the 12th straight month. The share of new rental transactions with concessions in Brooklyn was 36 percent, down from 49.2 percent.

New leases also declined, as tenants in Brooklyn chose to stay put more.

In the Queens neighborhoods of Long Island City, Astoria, Sunnyside Yards and Woodside, where a third of the market this month was new development, median rents rose 0.8 percent, a reversal from last month.

Landlord concessions in the Queens neighborhoods also increased year over year, from 1.1 to 1.8 months’ rent, for the first time since September. New leases were also down, as more tenants opted to renew their leases rather than find new digs.

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