The Market

Renters snapped up larger Manhattan apartments in January

  • Manhattan median rent per square foot hit a new record of $87.87
  • New lease signings nearly doubled last month in Brooklyn and Queens
By Jennifer White Karp  |
February 8, 2024 - 9:30AM
Manhattan apartment building facades

Rents fell for Manhattan non-doorman apartments but rose for units in doorman buildings, which are a proxy for the luxury market.


January was another surprisingly busy month for New York City renters who signed significantly more leases compared to a year ago.

New lease signings jumped year-over-year for the third increase in a row in Manhattan and Brooklyn, and for the fourth time for northwest Queens, according to the January edition of the Elliman Report for those rental markets by Jonathan Miller, president and CEO of appraisal firm Miller Samuel.

Miller’s report draws attention to a new record for Manhattan rentals: Median rent per square foot for new leases rose annually to a new high of $87.87, an increase of 13.5 percent over January 2023, when Manhattan rent per square foot was $77.44. Lease signings were up year over year for two- and three-bedroom rentals by 50.5 percent and 207.7 percent, respectively.

Renters may be disappointed to learn that after several months of rent decreases, Manhattan median rent for new leases increased annually for the first time in three months, rising to $4,150, an increase of 1.3 percent over January 2023, according to the Elliman report.

Interestingly, rents fell for Manhattan non-doorman apartments but rose for units in doorman buildings, which are a proxy for the luxury market. The median rent for a non-doorman rental was $3,200, a drop of 3 percent compared to January 2023. Median rent for a doorman rental was $5,002, an increase of 7.2 percent over last year, the report says.

Manhattan new lease signings were up 14 percent as inventory increased. Listings were up 18 percent compared to a year ago.

Brooklyn rents hit the pause button

In Brooklyn, median rents finally stopped climbing last month. After 24 months of annual rent increases, the median rent ($3,500) was unchanged from the January 2023.

New lease signings continued to surge, nearly doubling (92.6 percent) from last year. Inventory fell year over year for the first time in five months, dropping 9.9 percent compared to last year, as per the report.

Queens median rent slips

In Queens, median rent fell year over year for the second time, dropping 4.2 percent to $3,200.

New leases nearly doubled year over year for the fourth time, the Elliman report says, increasing 31.1 percent, as listings fell year over year for the first time in five months, dipping 11.2 percent from last year.

‘The best time to look for an apartment’

Gary Malin, COO at Corcoran, which also released rental market reports for Manhattan and Brooklyn, attributed demand for Manhattan rentals to an increased appetite for high-end units.

He notes there’s typically a burst of rental activity in January from renters who paused their search for the holidays.

“Savvy New Yorkers know the best time to look for an apartment is in the winter, as many building owners are more generous with incentives to draw would-be tenants into the marketplace. These sweeteners might be reduced come spring.

“In addition, some potential buyers have chosen to rent for another year to wait for the anticipated interest rate cuts to come later in 2024. All of these factors have played a part in the recent uptick in market activity, Malin says.

A look at the neighborhoods

MNS Real Estate also shared its January 2024 reports for the Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and Bronx rental markets. The reports drill down into the rental market by apartment size and neighborhood.

Some notable findings for January include: The Manhattan neighborhood with the largest month over month rent increase was Tribeca, where doorman studio rents went up 11.5 percent to $4,307. Other notable increases were seen on the Lower East Side, where rents for doorman two bedrooms increased by 6.4 percent; and Midtown West. Rents for non-doorman two-bedroom rentals in that neighborhood increased by 6.3 percent.


Jennifer White Karp

Managing Editor

Jennifer steers Brick Underground’s editorial coverage of New York City residential real estate and writes articles on market trends and strategies for buyers, sellers, and renters. Jennifer’s 15-year career in New York City real estate journalism includes stints as a writer and editor at The Real Deal and its spinoff publication, Luxury Listings NYC.

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