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Manhattan Apartments Haven’t Been This Cheap to Rent in 10 Years

The median apartment rent in the borough fell by 22 percent in November compared to a year earlier.

(Bloomberg)—Apartments in Manhattan haven’t been this cheap to rent in 10 years.

The median rental price plummeted 22% in November from a year earlier to $2,743 a month, according to a report Thursday by appraiser Miller Samuel Inc. and brokerage Douglas Elliman Real Estate. That’s the lowest in data going back to October 2010.

Rental Rewind

Tenants see few reasons to sign leases in the city’s costliest borough while its nightlife is muted and employers are not yet requiring a return to the office. In response, landlords are doing what they can to keep units from going vacant, giving away free months of rent on top of lowering prices to levels not seen since the financial crisis.

“It’s still going to take a good part of 2021 to see prices stabilize,” said Jonathan Miller, president of Miller Samuel. “It’s really contingent on how quickly people begin to return to the office.”

Landlords offered move-in incentives on 57% of all new deals in Manhattan last month, according to the report. That was after whittling an average 5.6% off asking rents.

The concessions worked: Newly signed leases jumped 30% last month to 4,015 -- the biggest November leasing total in 12 years of record-keeping, Miller said. But that amped-up demand wasn’t enough to chip away at the surplus of empty apartments.

The number of available Manhattan listings more than doubled from a year ago to 15,130. The vacancy rate was the same as October-- a record high of 6.14%.

Other boroughs saw declines in pricing as well, with landlords offering record concessions. Brooklyn rents fell 8.3% to a median of $2,619, while available inventory more than doubled to 4,134.

In northwest Queens, including the waterfront neighborhood of Long Island City, rents fell 21% to a median of $2,275.

© 2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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