Prices are flat-to-rising, but renters are pushing back
The dog days of summer have arrived, and with them comes the latest batch of rental market reports—both of which are likely to make New Yorkers wonder why, exactly, they live in this city again. (Kidding! Sort of.)
The good news, if you can call it that, is that rents haven’t increased too much since last month—according to Douglas Elliman’s report, at least, the median rents in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens each saw small increases, but continued the trend of stagnating from last month. According to Jonathan Miller, the numbers whiz who prepares that report, there’s "more supply and more demand as tenants push back against rents at renewal as more new development enters the market." The bad news is that landlords aren't lowering rents, leading to a face-off between tenants and landlords.
Digging into those numbers, Manhattan’s median rent increased by a mere $44 to $3,444. According to Miller, the market in the borough is "generally" cooling, but don’t get too excited—the median rent is still the second-highest it’s been in the past eight years, since the firm began tracking these numbers. As far as year-over-year trends go, pretty much everything is rising—rents, for sure, but also the number of apartments offering concessions from landlords, as well as the number of new leases signed in June. Why? Miller says "demand is easing so landlords have to work harder to keep the vacancy rate low." Duly noted.
The story is similar in Brooklyn: Rents rose only slightly month-to-month, but looking at the year-over-year trends, the median rent rose for the sixth straight month. It’s now sitting comfortably at $2,880, or only $564 less than the Manhattan median rent. (Ouch.) Concessions have also doubled from the same time last year. And if you guessed that rents went up in Queens, you win a prize: the median rent rose by 2.2 percent month-over-month; however, the year-over-year jump was positively large in comparison, going up 10 percent. The median rent in that borough is now $2,787—keeping in mind that Elliman’s report tracks neighborhoods in Queens’s northwest quadrant—with the biggest jump happening with one-bedroom apartments.
The TL;DR version: Even though prices are somewhat flat at the beginning of the second quarter of 2016, the rent is still too damn high. And when the median rent in Brooklyn and Queens is barely lower than that in Manhattan … well, that’s not exactly great.