NYC Rent Sees Biggest Increase in Over a Decade

Apartments are going for an average of $2,700 a month.

New York City skyline
Sean Pavone/Shutterstock
Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

If you had sticker shock during your latest lease renewal or apartment hunt, you're not alone.

A new study from housing website StreetEasy found that median asking rents in New York City last year rose a whopping 8.2% from 2020 and an even-larger 11.6% from the first quarter of the year. It was the most significant annual increase in rents on record for StreetEasy, which has data going back to 2010.

Apartments are renting for an average of $2,700 across the five boroughs. This is still off from the all-time high of $2,850 set in summer 2019 but far higher than the pandemic-induced low of $2,420 in the first quarter of last year. There are also fewer apartments on the market, with just 60,966 last quarter compared to 128,167 at the same time in 2020.

The city's most sought-after areas have seen the greatest price increases. Neighborhoods like Downtown Brooklyn, SoHo, Tribeca, and Battery Park City surpassed their record highs. While almost half of all Manhattan rental listings were offering concessions in the first quarter of 2021, that number dropped to just 17.1% in the fourth quarter.

"The market is in the process of normalizing after nearly two years of uncertainty. That's good news for the city's recovery overall, but, understandably, many renters or hopeful renters might be feeling uneasy right now," said Nancy Wu, StreetEasy's economist. 

"This winter will bring a lot of change to the rentals market," she added. "Concessions that landlords gave at the beginning of last year will expire, leaving many renters with no choice but to move out of their COVID-era discounted rentals. This should boost rental inventory in the most competitive neighborhoods and give renters on the market some reprieve from the rapid price growth we've seen throughout the last year."

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Chris Mench is an editor focusing on NYC News at Thrillist. You can follow him on Twitter for more of his work.