The unthinkable has happened: For the first time in nearly a decade, Manhattan rents have dipped below $3,000 per month.
It’s not by much; the median rent is still $2,990. But that price shift — a decrease of 7.8 percent compared to a year earlier — is part of a larger trend. For the first time in a decade, asking rents fell in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens last quarter, according to StreetEasy’s Q3 market report.
As rents plummet across the city, inventory and concessions are soaring and landlords have to swallow the loss.
“Landlords across the city, but particularly in Manhattan, have to be willing to face some really hard hits if they want to fill their units,” said Nancy Wu, the listing portal’s chief economist.
In Manhattan, the share of rental listings that were discounted rose to a stunning 45 percent, up 23 percent year-over-year. The median discount was about 9 percent, or the equivalent of $272.
In Brooklyn, median asking rent sank to $2,599, a drop of about 2.5 percent year-over-year. It’s the first time in the 10 years StreetEasy has tracked the borough’s rental market where rents fell year-over-year. The share of discounted listings hit a 10-year high of 31 percent.
Median asking rents in Queens fell to $2,200, down 2.2 percent compared to the same period in 2019. The number of discounted listings jumped to 26.6 percent.
Those numbers are likely conservative, according to StreetEasy. Until September, the site had no established policy on whether landlords and brokers advertising discounted apartments had to list the gross rent, which appears on the lease, or the net effective rent, which includes concessions and may not reflect the price a tenant pays each month.
As a result, when a listing advertised only the gross rent, the rents landlords expected to collect in the coming year were overstated. The practice was also confusing for renters, who could potentially owe more on a monthly basis than they were prepared or able to pay.
StreetEasy responded to the discrepancies by instituting a policy, effective Sept. 2, that rental listings must display the gross rent as the sticker price, while the net effective rent is listed below in smaller print. It’s up to the parties to negotiate how payments will be paid.