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Manhattan Apartment Rents Just Hit The Highest April On Record


As lawmakers hashed out a deal to stimulate more housing production last month, New York City apartment rents broke new records.

Apartment rents in Manhattan hit their highest April levels on record, according to brokerage Douglas Elliman’s monthly rental report. Manhattan median apartment rent hit $4,250 a month, 3.7% higher than in March and 0.2% higher than a year ago. 

There was little relief to be found in the boroughs. Median rents in Brooklyn were also the highest recorded in April at $3,599 per month, 3% higher than a month ago and 2.3% more than the same period in 2023. Queens median rents came in at $3,244, up 1.4% from March but a full 8% below last April. Those numbers were still the second highest on record for the borough.

The uptick shows that last month, when rents in Manhattan dropped slightly as would-be tenants sought bigger apartments in Brooklyn and Queens, appears to be an outlier, Miller Samuel CEO Jonathan Miller said.

“Median rent has risen year-over-year for three of the last four months,” he said, adding that average rents — hitting $5,089 a month in Manhattan, $3,961 in Brooklyn and $3,445 a month in Queens in April — were slightly higher than the listing prices. “It happens periodically, but it's telling us that the market is tight.”

That tightness is largely due to people who perhaps hoped to buy apartments finding themselves stuck as renters after the Federal Reserve declined to cut interest rates last month, he said.

“What it looks like to me is that during the month of April — and probably it began in March — you had people not renewing and anticipating going into the purchase market,” Miller said. “Then, realizing that mortgage rates weren't coming down, they decided to return to the rental market.”

That factor is also the key driver behind the hike in the number of new apartment leases signed in April, Miller said. New lease signings spiked across all three boroughs, also hitting their second-highest level on record. The number of new leases signed with discounts also dropped in Manhattan and Queens as supply tightened.

Around 11.8% of new leases signed in Manhattan included concessions last month, down from 12.9% a year earlier. Fifteen percent of new leases for Queens renters came with concessions, down from 17.5% last April. In Brooklyn, however, that share grew to 17% of new leases in April from 11.6% for the same month in 2023. 

Altogether, the data points to NYC apartment rents staying relatively high for a while, Miller said. Even the deal reached in Albany for subsidies that will allow developers to build more housing in NYC won’t solve the city’s rental housing crisis by itself, he said. 

“It's not just more housing production,” he said. “Mortgage rates are one of the biggest drivers [of rent increases] in the short term.”