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Manhattan Apartment Rents Plateau After Months of Record Highs

The median rate on new leases slipped in August from July, but that doesn’t mean New York is suddenly getting affordable.  

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Manhattan’s hot rental market ended its six-month streak of record-setting prices in August, as rates fell slightly from the month before.

New leases were signed at a median of $4,100, down $50 from July’s all-time high, according to a report Thursday by appraiser Miller Samuel Inc. and brokerage Douglas Elliman Real Estate. The price dip came during the market’s busiest month of the year, with more than 5,800 deals inked in August, a nearly 10% increase over July’s volume.

“Rents are robust but they are starting to plateau,” said Jonathan Miller, president of Miller Samuel. He doesn’t expect costs to drop significantly unless the labor market shifts, cutting off the flow of new hires into the city and making it harder for current apartment dwellers to pay their bills.

Rents are decidedly higher this year than they were in 2019, before the pandemic: August’s median was up 17% from the same month three years ago. That means any relief for tenants is likely to be measured.