COVID-19

As people leave New York because of COVID-19, rents start to come down

Jasmine Garsd Jul 21, 2020
Heard on: Marketplace Morning Report
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Rents were down 6.6% in Manhattan last month compared to June of 2019. Drew Angerer/Getty Images
COVID-19

As people leave New York because of COVID-19, rents start to come down

Jasmine Garsd Jul 21, 2020
Rents were down 6.6% in Manhattan last month compared to June of 2019. Drew Angerer/Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

The pandemic is changing what American life looks like, and what American cities look like. Thousands of people have left New York since March due to COVID-19, leaving vacancies in their wake.

And what will that mean for the city’s notoriously high rents?

“There is a lower number of renters, at least until the crisis is over,” said Jonathan Miller, the author of a new report by the brokerage firm Douglas Elliman. It shows that with demand down, rents are already starting to decline — by 6.6% in Manhattan, compared to June of last year.

And Columbia University Professor Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh said that if federal pandemic benefits expire, we’re likely to see a wave of evictions.

“There’s been fairly generous unemployment insurance with the $600 a week top-offs, which are about to expire in the next several days, leading to some sort of fiscal cliff for a lot of households,” he said.

Van Nieuwerburgh said that right now, some landlords are letting tenants live in their apartments for free, rather than evict them or lower their rents. Because if landlords lower tenants’ rents, it could make it difficult for them to refinance their mortgages.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

How many people are flying? Has traveled picked up?

Flying is starting to recover to levels the airline industry hasn’t seen in months. The Transportation Security Administration announced on Oct. 19 that it’s screened more than 1 million passengers on a single day — its highest number since March 17. The TSA also screened more than 6 million passengers last week, its highest weekly volume since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. While travel is improving, the TSA announcement comes amid warnings that the U.S. is in the third wave of the coronavirus. There are now more than 8 million cases in the country, with more than 219,000 deaths.

How are Americans feeling about their finances?

Nearly half of all Americans would have trouble paying for an unexpected $250 bill and a third of Americans have less income than before the pandemic, according to the latest results of our Marketplace-Edison Poll. Also, 6 in 10 Americans think that race has at least some impact on an individual’s long-term financial situation, but Black respondents are much more likely to think that race has a big impact on a person’s long-term financial situation than white or Hispanic/Latinx respondents.

Find the rest of the poll results here, which cover how Americans have been faring financially about six months into the pandemic, race and equity within the workplace and some of the key issues Trump and Biden supporters are concerned about.

What’s going to happen to retailers, especially with the holiday shopping season approaching?

A report out recently from the accounting consultancy BDO USA said 29 big retailers filed for bankruptcy protection through August. And if bankruptcies continue at that pace, the number could rival the bankruptcies of 2010, after the Great Recession. For retailers, the last three months of this year will be even more critical than usual for their survival as they look for some hope around the holidays.

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