Over the last 12 months, the New York City rental market has been a roller coaster. The COVID-19 pandemic, civil unrest over the summer, and low interest rates for home mortgages pushed people out of the city in 2020, causing rental rates to drop significantly and landlords willing to offer up attractive incentives.

The average rental price in Manhattan fell more than 12% for non-doorman buildings and around 14% for doorman buildings during the peak months of the pandemic last year, effecting all neighborhoods. Trends were similar for Brooklyn and Queens (apart from Flushing, where rents rose by an average of 5%).


The current NYC rental market

Now we’re looking ahead to 2021. What does the current rental landscape look like – and more importantly – where is it headed? There are signs that the rental market is recovering, with the average Manhattan rent prices creeping up 0.02% from January to February 2021. Brooklyn is up and average of 0.16% and Queens is up 1.59% for the same time period, according to data aggregated by MNS.

Compared to pre-pandemic rents, prices are still lower than average, and while deals are still to be had, those could start to quickly fade. According to Gus Waite, our managing broker of Station Cities New York, if you’re still deciding on whether or not to make the move to NYC, don’t delay.

“Vaccines are increasing, and jobs are coming back, so we’re starting to see some of the incentives go away,” explains Gus.


The NYC sales market

On the sales front, prices have continued to trend upward. After months of significantly lower sales activity – eventually bottoming out in September 2020 – activity has grown consistently since October. Although February 2021 came in 15% below year-ago figures according to Property Shark, its number of sales still pointed to strong transactional activity, as gaps in year over year sales is closing.


The future of the market

Gus predicts there will be a boom of rental activity in New York City come this summer. The stimulus packages coupled with the rise in vaccinations and lower rent prices are poised to attract a younger crowd to the city that has been previously priced out.

The bottom line: New York City is up and running, and it’s an exciting time for the Big Apple as we move into summer. Come take advantage of the rent reductions while there’s still time!


Watch Gus Waite discuss the current state of the rental market below: