Another record month for new leases as Covid discounts dry up

But year-over-year gains were smaller than in June

New York /
Aug.August 12, 2021 07:00 AM
Leasing activity in New York City is on the rise, but there are hints of cooling as inventory and concessions fade. (iStock)

Leasing activity in New York City is on the rise, but there are hints of cooling as inventory and concessions fade. (iStock)

 

New apartment leases last month set an all-time high for July as tenants continued to take up the slack in New York City’s rental market.

Manhattan, Brooklyn and Northwest Queens each had their busiest July ever, according to a Douglas Elliman report compiled by appraisal firm Miller Samuel.

The results come on the heels of a record-setting June, when vaccine adoption and rent discounts fueled a spring surge.

Manhattan saw 7,656 new leases signed last month, up 55 percent from last July. In Brooklyn, 1,870 new leases were signed, up 40 percent. The month before had been the third-busiest for new lease signings on record.

The smaller market of Northwest Queens, with 398 new leases signed, had the largest annual increase, 150 percent.

Despite the strong numbers, the year-over-year gains last month were smaller than in June.

“We’re still seeing heavy activity and that’s absorbing some of the excess supply, but the rate of improvement has diminished,” said Jonathan Miller, who authored the report.

The number of units available has fallen across the board since listing inventory peaked in January. Since then, listings have fallen 54 percent in Manhattan, 40 percent in Brooklyn and 49 percent in Queens.

Heavy leasing volume and declining inventory is whittling away the “Covid-discount,” Miller said, though rents remain lower than they were before the pandemic.

Net effective median rent, or rent that factors in landlord concessions, was $3,073 in Manhattan, down 3 percent year-over-year. It’s 13 percent lower than it was in pre-pandemic July 2019.

In Brooklyn, net effective median rent was $2,789 in July, down 3.9 percent from a year ago and down 4.4 percent from July 2019. Northwest Queens had a net effective median rent of $2,680, up 10.6 percent from last year and down 5.5 percent from July 2019.





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