Rents in Manhattan and Queens recover while Brooklyn lags behind

Net effective median rent in Manhattan soared to December record


New York City made a rental comeback in December, with Manhattan and Queens leading the resurgence.

Rent in Manhattan and northwest Queens soared past pre-pandemic levels in December while Brooklyn rent fell, according to a report by appraisal firm Miller Samuel for Douglas Elliman.

Manhattan’s net effective median rent was $3,392 last month, the highest reported in December since Miller Samuel began tracking in 2008. That’s up 21 percent from December 2020 and 0.1 percent from December 2019, before the pandemic derailed the market.

Northwest Queens told a similar story, with net effective median rent at $2,715 in December. That’s 25 percent higher than it was in December 2020 and 3 percent higher than in December 2019.

While Manhattan technically recovered from pre-pandemic levels, that’s largely because the upper and lower halves of the market are at odds with each other, said Jonathan Miller, the report’s author.

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Net effective median rent for Manhattan buildings with a doorman rose 7.7 percent from December 2019 to $4,207. The net effective median rent for buildings without a doorman was $2,625, or 6.6 percent lower than December 2019.

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Things were different in Brooklyn, however, where net effective median rent was $2,747, marking a modest year-over-year increase of 7.1 percent and a 5.1 decrease from December 2019. Leasing activity, however, rose 60 percent from December 2019 to 1,296.

“That tells you that Brooklyn is seeing more rental activity than normal, but it’s not seeing that ebb and flow extreme case that we saw in Manhattan because Manhattan did not recover until early 2021,” Miller said.

New leases in Manhattan experienced a record decline of 39 percent to 3,335, as the number slows down from the historic highs of the past year. The number of signed leases was 18.3 percent higher than its pre-pandemic level.

The vacancy rate in the borough was 1.7, the lowest it’s been in three years and well below the December average of 3.1 over the past 10 years. Supply also fell sharply year-over-year by 80 percent to 4,753.