COVID-19

Rents are down, vacancy rates are up in NYC rental market

Jasmine Garsd Aug 14, 2020
Heard on: Marketplace Morning Report
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The notoriously pricey rental market is in upheaval. Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images
COVID-19

Rents are down, vacancy rates are up in NYC rental market

Jasmine Garsd Aug 14, 2020
The notoriously pricey rental market is in upheaval. Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

The New York real estate firm Douglas Elliman’s latest report on New York City rentals for July finds record vacancy rates in some parts of the city — and the most significant year-over-year decline in rent in nine years.

The notoriously pricey rental market is in upheaval.

Kat O’Brien rents an apartment in Manhattan, a new place that she found during the pandemic. She’s still getting bombarded with ads, mostly for luxury housing.

“I’ve seen two months free, the most I saw was one on a 24-month lease, up to four months free,” O’Brien said.

“Landlords are having a much more difficult time filling apartments,” said Jonathan Miller, who authored the Douglas Elliman report. In Manhattan, “that’s why vacancy is double what it was a year ago — more than double — and it’s the highest that we’ve tracked in 14 years,” he said.

Average rent in Manhattan went down more than 6% from where it was in July 2019.

Looking ahead, economist Nancy Wu from the real estate firm StreetEasy said, “there’s going to be even higher vacancy rates, and even more supply coming into the market. I expect that we will be in here for a long time.”

But, for now, in Manhattan, that still means rents are averaging more than $4,000 a month.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

Are states ready to roll out COVID-19 vaccines?

Claire Hannan, executive director of the nonprofit Association of Immunization Managers, which represents state health officials, said states have been making good progress in their preparations. And we could have several vaccines pretty soon. But states still need more funding, she said. Hannan doesn’t think a lack of additional funding would hold up distribution initially, but it could cause problems down the road. “It’s really worrisome that Congress may not pass funding or that there’s information circulating saying that states don’t need additional funding,” she said.

How is the service industry dealing with the return of coronavirus restrictions?

Without another round of something like the Paycheck Protection Program, which kept a lot of businesses afloat during the pandemic’s early stages, the outlook is bleak for places like restaurants. Some in the San Francisco Bay Area, for example, only got one week of indoor dining back before cases rose and restrictions went back into effect. Restaurant owners are revamping their business models in an effort to survive while waiting to see if they’ll be able to get more aid.

How are hospitals handling the nationwide surge in COVID-19 cases?

As the pandemic surges and more medical professionals themselves are coming down with COVID, nearly 1 in 5 hospitals in the country report having a critical shortage of staff, according to data from the Department of Health and Human Services. One of the knock-on effects of staff shortages is that people who have other medical needs are being asked to wait.

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