The Market

Manhattan median rent reached the second-highest March on record

  • Manhattan median rent was $4,100 in March, a drop of 1.8 percent from a year ago
  • New signed leases were up 41 percent in Queens, where new listings rose 36.3 percent
By Jennifer White Karp  |
April 11, 2024 - 10:30AM
Manhattan rooftops

New lease signings for Manhattan were down 1.8 percent compared to March 2023, yet it was the third-highest March on record for new leases.


Manhattan’s median rent and new leases fell in March—but both metrics remained near record levels.

Even though Manhattan median rent dropped 1.8 percent to $4,100 in March compared to the prior year, it was the second-highest March on record, according to the latest Douglas Elliman market report.

New lease signings were down 1.8 percent compared to March 2023, yet it was the third-highest March on record for new leases.

March is a very active month for lease signings, pointed out Jonathan Miller, president of appraisal firm Miller Samuel and author of the report. In March 2023, lease signings hit the second-highest level in history, he noted. So while lease activity was high last month, compared to an all-time record it showed a decline.

As for Manhattan median rent, it has been stuck at an elevated level, propped up by demand from buyers waiting for better conditions in the sales market. 

Even though there was a small decline in March (after rising in both January and February, following three months of increases), it’s been hovering in the same tight range, which is why you can have both a drop in rent and yet come close to another record.

A tiny median rent increase in Brooklyn

In Brooklyn, median rent for new leases rose for the first time in five months, but it wasn’t much of an increase, just a .1 percent bump to $3,495, according to the Elliman Report.

New lease signings increased year over year to the highest on record, a jump of 45 percent compared to March 2023. Listings increased year over year for the sixth time in seven months, rising 3.3 percent.

Queens lease signings surge to new high

Over in Northwest Queens, median rent fell year over year for the second time in three months while new lease signings surged to a new high. Median rent dropped 3 percent to $3,200 and new leases were up 41.6 percent.

Listings rose 36.3 percent, the sixth annual rise in seven months.

Apartment hunters have fewer choices

The Corcoran Group also released its Manhattan and Brooklyn rental reports for March. 

Gary Malin, chief operating officer at the Corcoran Group, pointed out the bind faced by Manhattan renters.

“The number of signed leases climbed when compared to February—which is typical as we enter spring—but was down when compared to last year, which shows current pricing has given some would-be tenants pause. Apartment seekers in the borough are also facing fewer choices, as the vacancy rate has reached the lowest level since May of 2022,” he said.

In Brooklyn, Malin noted there was strong demand for two- and three-bedroom apartments.

“This could be caused by a push from prospective buyers to rent comparable, larger product,” he said. “[W]ould-be buyers’ wait-and-see approach with the sales market has likely fueled a demand for larger, more-luxurious rentals. This contingent wants the space and lifestyle of a condo, co-op or townhome, but without the commitment.”

More ‘no-fee’ apartments

BOND New York also released rental market reports for Brooklyn and Manhattan for the first quarter, which drilled down into rental markets by size and neighborhood.

Landlords called the shots in the first quarter, however, “tenants benefitted from a larger-than-usual supply of no fee rentals and other concessions, with offers of free rent, waived amenity fees, and other incentives available for nearly half the housing stock, according to the Manhattan report

These freebies “enabled landlords to retain the higher rents that they prioritize—and which have been accelerating since the latter half of 2021—by covering more of the ancillary upfront costs.”

Brooklyn Heights, Cobble Hill, Fort Greene, and Dumbo experienced slight rent increases even though all apartment sizes spent more time lingering on the market, BOND’s Brooklyn report said.

Bed-Stuy, Bushwick, and Crown Heights had slight decreases in rents, signaling opportunities for deals in those neighborhoods. Rentals in new towers in Downtown Brooklyn were off by less than 5 percent for the quarter, with some larger three-bedroom homes surged by as much as 10 percent since December.

Apartment hunters found $4,000 one bedrooms and $6,200 two bedrooms in Park Slope, coming in below neighboring Cobble Hill and Boerum Hill. Over in Williamsburg, a one bedroom went for $4,800 and two bedrooms ran $7,200, while renters in Greenpoint saw $4,600 one bedrooms and $5,000 two bedrooms in low-rise multifamily buildings and amenitized new luxury towers along the East River, as per the Brooklyn report from BOND.


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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