NYC Rent Prices Are Finally Going Down After a Year of Major Increases

The rental platform Zumper just released new data.

New York City, this is not a drill. Rent prices are (very slowly) going down, at least for now.

After a summer where moving to a new apartment or renegotiating your lease felt like facing NYC's final boss, the rental market seems to be cooling off a tiny bit. According to the apartment rental website Zumper, the median NYC rent dropped 2.3% between September and October. A separate report from The Real Deal estimates that the national median decreased .07% for one-bedrooms and 0.8% for two-bedroom apartments.

Earlier this summer, NYC witnessed rent increases both for rent-stabilized apartments and for market-rate units. Tenants living in rent-stabilized homes were hit with the steepest increase in prices in over a decade, and saw one-year leases go up by 3.25%, while the board voted for a 5% increase on two-year leases. Meanwhile, market rates went through the roof after a period of intense decline brought on by the initial COVID-19 lockdowns.

Rent increases have been slapping New Yorkers even harder than one might think when considering the role inflation played. According to a recent StreetEasy study, the gap between real wage growth and rent prices in August was 23% when taking inflation into account. StreetEasy found that real wages actually decreased by 9.1% because of inflation, while rent prices hiked 13.4%, which creates the widest gap since the 2008 housing crisis.

Even though a 2.3% drop might seem a minimal, it is a hopeful change for the sky-high rental market. Appraiser Jonathan Miller told Curbed that, according to his analysis, the slight change could lead to a more balanced rental market in which broker fees might lower and bidding wars could stop. Although the actual decrease is small, it could be a sign of better things to come. 

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Serena Tara is a Staff Writer on the News team at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.