Suddenly, Manhattan rent is (relatively) cheap

  • The median rent in Manhattan plummeted 11% to $3,036 last month — the lowest its been since 2013.
  • The lower rents, accompanied by a number of concessions, are a result of record-high apartment vacancies, according to a report from Miller Samuel and Douglas Elliman.
  • Almost 16,000 apartments sat empty in September, as the New York City exodus seemingly carries on amid the coronavirus pandemic.
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Thousands upon thousands of Manhattan apartments are just sitting empty right now.

And the mounting number of vacancies are forcing landlords to bring rents down to the lowest they've been since 2013.

A new analysis by Miller Samuel and Douglas Elliman found that the number of Manhattan apartment listings skyrocketed last month, Bloomberg reported. Almost 16,000 apartments sat vacant — the most since 2006, when these records started being kept. 

This time last year, roughly 5,300 apartments were vacant. The vacancy rate in Manhattan currently hovers around 6%, when typically, in non-pandemic times, it would fall somewhere between 2% and 3%.

The record-high vacancy rate feeds into a pandemic-fueled narrative about New York being "dead."

Jonathan Miller, the CEO of Miller Samuel, previously told Business Insider that some Manhattan residents left back in March and April, and currently have no "incentive to return."

Fewer and fewer people are willing to pay Manhattan rent while schools and offices remained closed and cultural options stay limited, especially when they could achieve a higher level of comfort virtually anywhere else.

To convince potential renters, most landlords offered a number of concessions last month. The report found that 55% of all leases signed in September included concessions, whether it be a Citi Bike membership or multiple rent-free months.

All in all, the borough's median rent plummeted 11% to $3,036 in September. The drop represents the lowest median rent in Manhattan in seven years.

Depending on how you look at it, now might be the time to rent in Manhattan, where rentals make up two-thirds of apartments in the market — or it could be the time buy elsewhere, which many are seemingly doing.

Miller also told Business Insider that he imagines Manhattan's apartment vacancy numbers will continue to rise until there is a vaccine.

The tri-state suburbs, meanwhile, have become a land of bidding wars. 

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