NYC Renters ‘Squeezed to Their Limit’ With Record-High Costs

by Jennifer Epstein

New York rents set records in the second quarter, turning up the financial stress on apartment hunters across the city.

Limiting housing costs to 30% of income — the general guideline in the US — has long been tough for New Yorkers, but the recent wave of rent increases has only made it harder.

“Renters are being squeezed to their limit by steep increases in rent but they still need places to live,” said StreetEasy economist Kenny Lee. Some people priced out of their preferred neighborhoods may be moving to less-expensive areas where, in turn, they’re contributing to rising rates, he said.

Throughout much of Manhattan and Brooklyn, median asking rents on active listings in the second quarter jumped 40% or more from the same period in 2021, when prices began inching up as Covid-19 vaccines became widely available.

In Manhattan, the biggest increase was in the area encompassing Soho, Little Italy and Nolita, where the median rent was up 51% to $4,825. Brooklyn’s highest rents and largest jumps were in areas close to Manhattan, led by Carroll Gardens, where rates were up 47% from a year earlier to a median of $4,000.

For Manhattan as a whole, the median asking rent at the end of the quarter was a record-high $4,100, according to StreetEasy, which is 55% of the borough’s monthly median household income. Brooklyn’s $3,200 median rent made up an even bigger share of incomes, at 60%. Affordability was slightly better in Queens, where the $2,600 median asking rent was 43% of the median household income.

The US Department of Housing and Urban Development characterizes spending more than 30% of income as “rent burdened” and more than 50% as “severely rent burdened.”

Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens real estate at a glance for the quarter ended June 30, 2022:

Highest priced sale

Median home price

Change in price from last year

Click or tap on any neighborhood in the map to add it to the comparison charts below. Click or tap on any neighborhood name above to remove it.

Definition of Terms and Methodology

The sales data are based on condo, co-op, townhouse and single-family home transactions during the quarter, according to StreetEasy’s analysis of records from the New York City Department of Finance. Due to a delay between the closing date and when a sale is recorded by the Department of Finance, the data may not include all closings during the quarter.

Highest sale price
The highest sale price for all closed transactions in the quarter.

Median resale price
The middle price for homes with sales that closed in the quarter and had a prior recorded sale since 1995.

Median sale price, all homes
The middle price for all sales that closed in the quarter, including deals in new developments.

Price change
The percentage change in median price from the identical period in the previous year.

Median days on market
The middle value for the number of days from when a home was originally listed on StreetEasy to when it went under contract.

Sales count, all homes
The number of home sales that closed during the quarter.

Sales count, resales
The number of homes that sold in the quarter with a prior recorded sale since 1995.

Median asking rent
The middle advertised monthly price for rental homes listed on StreetEasy during the quarter.

Rent change
The percentage change in median asking rent from the identical period in the previous year.

Rental count
The number of properties listed for rent on StreetEasy during the quarter.

Tipping point
The time it would take for the accumulated costs of renting a home to equal or exceed the cost of buying and owning a comparable-size home in the same area. The calculation takes into account such homeownership costs as principal and interest payments on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, New York City taxes and the tax implications of selling a home, and such rental costs as renter’s insurance and the broker’s fee.

Listing discount
The median percentage change between the initial asking price listed on StreetEasy and the recorded sale price.

Share of sales listings with price cuts
The percentage of homes for which the list price on StreetEasy was reduced during the quarter.

Share of rentals discounted
The share of all active rental listings on StreetEasy that had a reduction in asking rent during the quarter.

Metrics with fewer than 10 examples in a neighborhood aren’t reported because more data are needed for an accurate representation. These are indicated as “NA”.