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NYC rents largely flat amid falling mortgage rates

Apartment buildings in New York City (Shutterstock)
Apartment buildings in New York City (Shutterstock)

New York City rents are still cooling off from last summer’s record highs, with median rates shifting little or not at all in January — but remaining well above prepandemic numbers.

That’s according to the latest monthly analysis by real estate company Douglas Elliman and appraisal firm Miller Samuel, which also found that leases surged across the city.

“As mortgage rates fall, the intensity of price growth has ended. And so now what we’re really looking at is rents are moving sideways and then slipping every so often,” said Jonathan Miller, president of Miller Samuel. “This is a gradual decline, it’s not a correction of rents.”

He said rents were up a little over 1% from last year and about 15% more than what they were prepandemic.

Median rent in Manhattan increased for the first time in three months to $4,150, up 2.5% from December and 1.3% more than in January 2023, when it was $4,097. Studio prices rose to $3,130, 4.3% more than both this time last month and last year, when it was an even $3,000.

New lease signings have also been rising in recent months, which Miller attributed to the comparatively low rents in Manhattan compared with summer numbers.

Brooklyn median rent was $3,500, up less than a percent from the month before and unchanged from 2023 despite two years worth of annual increases. Studio apartments hit $3,000, a 5.3% bump versus December and 3% bump from last January.

Meanwhile, new leases in Brooklyn nearly doubled year over year for the third month in a row.

Northwest Queens experienced something of a reprieve, declining annually for the second time in three months. Median rent reached $3,200, an 8.2% dip from December and a 5% decrease year over year; studios went for $3,033, down 3.7% from the month before but 1.3% above January 2023.

At the same time, year-over-year lease signings almost doubled for the fourth time.

“With the pressure coming off of the rental market we’re seeing rents every month are going to either decline or move sideways,” Miller predicted. “It’s not a steep drop. What’s happening now is I think what we’re going to see at least continue for the first half of this year.”