Manhattan rents are back to pre-pandemic levels after January spike

Median rent jumped 23% year-over-year to within $100 of all-time high

(iStock/Illustration by Kevin Rebong for The Real Deal)
(iStock/Illustration by Kevin Rebong for The Real Deal)

Rents in New York City approached all-time records last month as inventory grew increasingly scarce.

The median rental in Manhattan cost $3,467 last month, according to the New York Post, which cited the latest report by appraisal firm Miller Samuel. That was up a little over 2 percent from $3,392 in December, but it represented a 23 percent spike from January 2021 — falling just $5 short of the January record set in 2020, when the median rental was $3,472 per month.

Manhattan rents peaked at $3,540 in April 2020, a record that will soon fall if the current trajectory holds: Rents were up 21 percent year-over-year in December, indicating that price growth in the borough accelerated into January.

Northwest Queens saw a similar surge. The median rent hit $2,811 in January, up more than 28 percent from $2,185 in January 2021.

Prices in Brooklyn also rose, although not nearly at the same rate. The median rent jumped 11.1 percent year-over-year in the borough, hitting $2,747 in January.

A major driver of price growth in the housing market during the past year has been a persistent shortage of listings. A similar trend is occurring in the city’s rental market.

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The number of rental listings in Manhattan plummeted a shocking 83.3 percent year-over-year in January. While there were more than 25,000 apartments listed for rent in the borough in January 2021, just 4,313 were on the market last month.

Listings in Brooklyn were down 86.4 percent year-over-year, to fewer than 2,800.

Offices in New York City remain largely empty, but with Covid numbers falling, more employers are expected to call workers back to their desks for at least several days per week. Another driver of demand for city rentals was the return of in-person schooling. And some folks who fled the city early in the pandemic tired of the suburban or rural lifestyles they adopted.

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[NYP] — Holden Walter-Warner