Manhattan apartment vacancies surge to record amid coronavirus exodus

Manhattan’s rental market was hit with a tidal wave of new inventory as New Yorkers continued to flee the borough in the wake of COVID-19.

Rental listings rose 14.5% from a year ago to a record 15,025 at the end of August, according to New York-based real estate and consulting firm Miller Samuel.

While the vacancy rate climbed to 5.1%, a new record, there was some stabilization as the number of new lease signings edged up 0.8% to 4,990.

“With a nominal uptick in month over month new lease signings, activity appeared to bottom last month,” wrote Miller Samuel CEO Jonathan Miller.

Landlords enticed new tenants by offering the largest share of concessions on record. Slightly more than 54% of new lease signings received concessions, like a month of free rent or payment of brokers’ fees.

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Rental prices were down 7.7% from a year ago, including concessions, with the biggest declines occurring in the lower-priced segment of the market.

The average monthly rent for a studio fell 3.5% month-over-month to $2,574. The rate was down 8.6% from last year.

One-bedroom listings, meanwhile, saw prices slide 5.3% versus last year to an average of $3,445 per month.

Prices on Manhattan’s East Side have seen the largest average decline, down 10.6% from a year ago. Average monthly rents have dipped 3.8% year-over-year Downtown, while prices on the West Side and Northern Manhattan have dropped 2.9% and 3.1% on a year-over-year basis, respectively.

Elsewhere in New York City, Brooklyn rents were down 1.4% versus last year, including concessions, while rental prices in Queens were off 8.5%.