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COVID-19

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

Jasmine Garsd Jul 21, 2020
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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
Heard on:
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

What’s the outlook for vaccine supply?

Chief executives of America’s COVID-19 vaccine makers promised in congressional testimony to deliver the doses promised to the U.S. government by summer. The projections of confidence come after months of supply chain challenges and companies falling short of year-end projections for 2020. What changed? In part, drugmakers that normally compete are now actually helping one another. This has helped solve several supply chain issues, but not all of them.

How has the pandemic changed scientific research?

Over the past year, while some scientists turned their attention to COVID-19 and creating vaccines to fight it, most others had to pause their research — and re-imagine how to do it. Social distancing, limited lab capacity — “It’s less fun, I have to say. Like, for me the big part of the science is discussing the science with other people, getting excited about projects,” said Isabella Rauch, an immunologist at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland. Funding is also a big question for many.

What happened to all of the hazard pay essential workers were getting at the beginning of the pandemic?

Almost a year ago, when the pandemic began, essential workers were hailed as heroes. Back then, many companies gave hazard pay, an extra $2 or so per hour, for coming in to work. That quietly went away for most of them last summer. Without federal action, it’s mostly been up to local governments to create programs and mandates. They’ve helped compensate front-line workers, but they haven’t been perfect. “The solutions are small. They’re piecemeal,” said Molly Kinder at the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program. “You’re seeing these innovative pop-ups because we have failed overall to do something systematically.”

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