New York City rents hovered around record highs and likely haven't reached their peak yet, according to a new report.

Key Takeaways

  • The median rent in Manhattan broke records for the third month in a row.
  • The median rent in Brooklyn broke records for the second month in a row.
  • Historical data shows a peak in the New York rental market in August, indicating the growth of rent isn't likely to slow down soon.

Median rent in Manhattan for May broke the record high for the third month in a row as it rose to $4,395, up from April’s median of $4,241. Rent was up 9.9% year-over-year. Records were also set in Brooklyn and rents were at their second highest ever in Northwest Queens, according to data from Miller Samuel Inc. and brokerage Douglas Elliman Real Estate.

After a lull in April, new lease signings surged again in May. New signings were up 30.3% in May, after falling 20.4% in April. 

“In April, the downturn in new lease signings probably had something to do with the people pausing for the banking crisis that began in March,” said Jonathan Miller, the president of Miller Samuel. “In May, it just continued back to trend, where we saw a real sharp month-over-month uptick in rents.” 

Listing inventory, or the number of apartments available for rent, also grew in May, increasing by 7.4% month-over-month. Inventory was 21.2% higher than it was the same month one year ago. The increases were still below the trends, according to Miller. 

“Even though inventory rose over 20%, it's still below the long-term norm for May,” Miller said. “If you go back, the 10-year average for May was a much higher number. Even though inventory is climbing– which will go a long way to slow down rent, price growth – it's still below trend.” 

The trends continued in Brooklyn and Northwest Queens, as well. Leasing activity typically peaks in August in the New York rental market. Miller said he does not expect activity or rent growth to slow down before summer’s end. 

“Every year since at least the financial crisis, leasing activity peaks in August, no matter how strong or weak the market is,” Miller said. “The idea is that leasing activity still has a few more months ahead of it to expand, and with that expansion causes more rent pressure. It probably suggests that we may see in the next three months some additional records being set.” 

Brooklyn breaks new median rent record

Median rent reached a new record for the second month in a row in Brooklyn, according to the Elliman Report. 

The median rent in May was $3,550, up 1.4% from April’s $3,500. The median rent in May was 9.2% higher than one year ago. 

The number of new leases rose similarly to Manhattan, with a 39.9% uptick in new leases from April.  Inventory also grew 9.2% in May.

Median rent in Northwest Queens second highest on record

In Northwest Queens, the median rent was the second highest on record, at $3,402, falling 3.5% since April. Rent was up 15.3% year-over-year. 

The number of new leases also skyrocketed in May, rising 38.7% over the month. New leases were down 5.9% year-over-year.  Listing inventory fell in May, dropping 1.1%. 

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