3 painful facts for Manhattan renters — and happy ones for landlords

Rising rents, falling concessions and scant inventory are triple whammy

Manhattan rents up $1,000 ahead of spring rental season in NYCwith Zillow's Joshua Clark (Zillow, iStock)
Manhattan rents up $1,000 ahead of spring rental season in NYCwith Zillow's Joshua Clark (Zillow, iStock)

Apartment hunting in New York? Brace for an insufferable spring.

In the first quarter of 2022, the median Manhattan rent soared nearly $1,000 above last year’s level to a new high of $3,695, according to a StreetEasy report.

In part, those jumps reflect the bottomed-out market at the beginning of 2021 when monthly rents fell to a decade-long low and an unprecedented 42 percent of Manhattan units included at least one month of free rent.

Today, landlords are conceding little: Two-thirds of those concessions have disappeared. Just 13 percent of the Manhattan apartments are offering a break, the lowest share in six years, according to StreetEasy data.

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Meanwhile, renters who returned to the city in droves following vaccine rollouts have gobbled up the available inventory. Fewer than half as many units were listed on StreetEasy from January through March than over the same period last year.

In Brooklyn, the rental market is almost as bleak for tenants and bonkers for landlords. The median asking rent reached a new high at $2,800, available inventory had fallen by nearly half from a year earlier and the borough had the lowest share of units offering discounts, 12 percent.

But rental experts see the New York rental market finding an equilibrium.

Pricing pressure will likely push some tenants who secured pandemic deals out of New York. Those vacated apartments will bolster listing inventories, said Joshua Clark, a senior economist at Zillow. If enough units come online, rent growth would stabilize.