Manhattan rents fall annually for first time in over two years

Return of seasonality doesn’t explain entire drop in demand

Manhattan Rents Drop Annually for First Time in Two Years

Tenants are back in the driver’s seat — or at least wrestling for the steering wheel.

After two years of rampant growth, New York City rents fell on an annualized basis last month, the first such dip since August 2021.

In Manhattan the median rent slipped 2.3 percent year-over-year to $4,000, according to a report by appraisal firm Miller Samuel for Douglas Elliman.

Brokers say the slide is a sign that seasonality — lower demand in the colder months — has returned. The pandemic upended normal leasing patterns as New Yorkers in 2021 and 2022 returned to the city in droves, stoking bidding wars and record-breaking prices.

“In November, what we saw were renters really taking their time and looking at multiple units and different neighborhoods — just trying to find the best value,” said Hal Gavzie, a broker at Douglas Elliman.

Report author Jonathan Miller said the decline from late summer’s peak suggests rents are falling faster than seasonality would typically explain. The median Manhattan rent has slipped 9 percent since August.

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That downward trend could continue through next year, particularly if the Federal Reserve’s forecast for rate cuts pans out, Miller added. Cheaper mortgages could entice more people to become homeowners, which would mean less demand for rentals.

“I think there is more room for further declines into next year,” Miller said.

Annualized declines have yet to hit Brooklyn. Rents in the borough rose 6 percent year over year to a median of $3,495. Still, the pop aligned with annual increases in October and September, a sign of a stabilizing market. November’s median rent was effectively the same as October’s.

In Northwest Queens, prices barely budged. The median rent fell 0.3 percent year-over-year to $3,175. It dropped less than a percentage point from the month prior.

Miller’s report is not citywide and does not take into account rent-regulated units, which make up about half of the city’s rentals.

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