The Market

New leases for Manhattan apartments more than doubled in February

By Brick Underground  | March 11, 2021 - 1:30PM

New lease signings in Manhattan surged to their highest total for a February since the Financial Crisis in 2008, according to the Elliman Report.


The renters are coming back to New York City in a big way, thanks to near record low concessions, falling rents, and lots of vacant apartments. Last month, new lease signings in Manhattan surged to their highest total for a February since the Financial Crisis in 2008.

Lease signings have been rising for five consecutive months to similar record highs, according to the Elliman Report for Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens rentals. Last month saw an increase of 112.4 percent in new leases compared to February 2020.

The median rent for Manhattan, $2,995, was a drop of 14.4 percent from February 2020. Rent for brand-new rentals did not fall as much—the median rent for new developments was only down 2.4 percent to $4,583, the report says.

More new Manhattan leases came with a concession last month, 41.3 percent, compared to 36.7 percent a year ago. There were fewer concession in the luxury market—nearly half the amount in the non-luxury market.

While Manhattan leasing activity is chipping away at the number of apartments on the rental market, inventory is still triple the amount available last year.

In Brooklyn, new lease signings once again surged to the highest number since tracking began in 2008, rising 132.87 percent over February 2020.

The median rent for Brooklyn, $2,625, was a drop of 15.3 percent over a year ago—and the net effective rent, which reflects concessions factored in, fell 16.3 percent, the highest rate in nearly a decade, the report says.

Landlords offered concessions to 38 percent of new leases last month, compared to 28.8 percent a year ago. (In November, that share hit a high of 55 percent.)

Queens new lease signings also surged—reaching the highest total for a February in nine years of tracking, the Elliman report says, rising 73.1 percent over last year.

The median rent in Queens dropped 13 percent to $2,522 compared to the year-ago month, and net effective rent fell year over year for the 10th consecutive month.

Other market reports

MNS released its January rental market reports for Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx. The reports drill down to look at rents by apartment size and neighborhood—and compare doorman to non-doorman buildings in Manhattan. Findings include: The largest monthly decreases in Manhattan rent were for non-doorman one-bedroom apartments in Tribeca, and non-doorman two-bedroom units in Murray Hill and Greenwich Village.


Brick Underground articles occasionally include the expertise of, or information about, advertising partners when relevant to the story. We will never promote an advertiser's product without making the relationship clear to our readers.