Manhattan’s rental inventory has risen significantly, as have prices, but for those eyeing an apartment in Queens or Brooklyn, expect bidding wars, waiting lists, and fighting an old lady with a stick if the need arises.
Across the city last month, 28,325 rentals were listed, according to a StreetEasy report — the most since October, when 30,977 were available. But the prices have also increased, with the citywide median reaching a high of $3,349.
Manhattan had 13,933 units available, a decrease from May 2021, but a 34 percent improvement from December when only 10,433 units were available.
Downtown Manhattan, in particular, had a relative plethora of apartments with 4,928 available across Soho, Battery Park City, the West Village and Flatiron. The next largest repository of open units was the East Village, with 1,054.
Meanwhile, Brooklyn had a slight increase with 9,598 units available last month, 577 more than in April. In Northwest Brooklyn, 1,379 units were rentable across Downtown Brooklyn, Dumbo, Fort Greene and Boerum Hill. The pandemic nadir for those neighborhoods was 1,046 in December, so inventory climbed by 33 percent in five months.
That was better than Queens, where apartments were in short supply. Only 3,749 units were available last month, 168 fewer than in April. The inventory in Northwest Queens, which includes Astoria, Long Island City and Sunnyside, has been decreasing steadily since March 2021 and reached a low of 1,593 units.
The data suggest that renters, faced with the reality of paying post-pandemic prices in Manhattan, were fleeing to Kings and Queens counties, according to Zillow senior economist Josh Clark.
“Those renters are now looking for more affordable places to live, especially in Brooklyn and Queens, which is why inventory is not recovering as quickly in those areas,” he said.
Clark expects more options to open up for renters in late summer or early fall.
For those who don’t have the luxury of waiting, flexibility and luck will be crucial.