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Free-Falling New York Rents Plunge 12% in Queens

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For New York City apartment hunters, April was another good month to find a deal on rents. But no one fared better than those in northwest Queens.

Rents there dropped 12 percent from a year earlier, to a median of $2,646 a month, after landlord giveaways were subtracted, according to a report Thursday by appraiser Miller Samuel Inc. and brokerage Douglas Elliman Real Estate. Those giveaways were offered on 65 percent of all new leases signed in the area, excluding renewals, a record share in data going back to the beginning of 2016.

The enticements brought in more renters. New leases in northwest Queens -- Long Island City, Astoria, Sunnyside and Woodside -- jumped 11 percent to 272, the firms said.

“More customers who were originally looking in Manhattan and Brooklyn are considering Queens,” said Hal Gavzie, Douglas Elliman’s executive manager of leasing. “It used to be just 100 percent a different consumer.”

Take the 7 Train

A glut of apartment supply is pushing rents down in New York City, with northwest Queens plunging 12% in April

Source: Miller Samuel Inc. and Douglas Elliman Real Estate

Note: Change in median rent, with concessions subtracted, from a year earlier

New York City tenants are crossing borders to compare deals in a market groaning under the weight of new supply. Landlords, who’ve accepted they need to compete to keep their units filled, are working to attract new tenants and offering sweeter renewal terms to keep the ones they have, Gavzie said. In Manhattan, 44 percent of all new leases came with a landlord concession, such as a free month of rent or payment of broker fees. In Brooklyn, the share was 51 percent, a record for the borough.

Still, the number of new leases in Manhattan and Brooklyn fell 3.5 percent and 1.6 percent, respectively, a sign that renters there found good reason to stay in their current apartments, Gavzie said.

“Tenants negotiating a renewal, they’ve looked around to see what deals they can get,” he said. “So their landlord gives them a sweet offer to stay.”

Manhattan rents in April, after subtracting concessions, fell 2.2 percent, to a median of $3,236, the fifth consecutive month of year-over-year declines.

Rents fell in almost every neighborhood in the borough, according to a separate report Thursday by brokerage Citi Habitats. The SoHo and Tribeca areas, the most expensive, together saw median monthly rent in April fall 15 percent from a year earlier, to $5,100. In the West Village, the drop was 5 percent to $3,750, while on the Upper East Side, rents slid 6 percent to $3,100.

In Brooklyn, where rents have also fallen for five months, the decline was 2.9 percent, to a median of $2,686, Miller Samuel and Douglas Elliman reported.

(Adds neighborhood rent data in second-to-last paragraph.)
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