Manhattan, Brooklyn rents jump to new heights as Queens leasing continues surge

NYC rental market kept hot with high demand and inventory dives

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

As pandemic-era discounts expire across New York City, rental markets in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Northwest Queens are feeling the squeeze of high demand and low inventory.

Manhattan’s net effective median rent and face rent were at their highest level on record, while the vacancy rate remained below two percent for the fourth consecutive month, according to a report by appraisal firm Miller Samuel for Douglas Elliman.

The borough’s median rental price in March hit $3,700, remaining steady from the month prior but jumping 19 percent from March 2021.

“We’re seeing the highest rents that we’ve seen since 1991,” said Jonathan Miller, the author of the report.

Competition has also been fierce. Bidding wars accounted for one in five new lease signings and the average home spent 61 days on the market, down 9 percent from February and 39 percent year over year.

Listing inventory fell 77 percent year over year to 4,532 listings. The borough’s vacancy rate was just 1.89 percent.

However, Miller notes that inventory is not falling to zero, largely thanks to the excess inventory that was built in late 2020 and early 2021.

“Inventory is pretty close to pre-pandemic levels,” Miller said. “That massive excess has been largely burned off by elevated demand.”

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In the luxury market, median rental price hit $9,985, a 13 percent decrease from the prior month but a 10 percent increase year over year. Overall, luxury price trend indicators rose to their third-highest levels on record.

Miller has previously mapped trends between lower and upper income households based on if the building had a doorman. Typically, units in doorman buildings saw rents grow more than those without.

This report is the first time that non-doorman rentals exceeded those with doormen year over year in net effective median rent. Those with had a median rental price of $4,500, a 19 percent increase year over year, while those without had a $2,950 price, a 20 percent hike.

“While [non-dooman] was somewhat late to the party, it has officially caught up with the high end of the market,” Miller said. “The lower half of the market is now rising rapidly.”

In Brooklyn, net effective median rent exceeded pre-pandemic levels for the first time. Median rental price was $3,000, an 11 percent increase over last year.

However, listing inventory fell year over year by more than 80 percent for the fourth consecutive month. Inventory was at 2,993 listings, 83 percent below that of March 2021.

In Northwest Queens, new lease signings reached their highest level for March in at least a decade, while net effective median rent rose year over year for the seventh consecutive month.

The median rental price in the borough was $2,898, a 21 percent jump year over year.

There were just 460 listings available, a 89 percent decline from the previous year. That is the fourth straight month that listing inventory fell year over year by more than seventy percent.