The Market

Manhattan median rent 'is falling faster than anticipated'

  • November median rent for new Manhattan leases slipped to $4,000 as per The Elliman Report
  • But the downward slide doesn’t match the pace of rocket ship-like rent increases last year
By Jennifer White Karp  |
December 14, 2023 - 9:30AM
West 36th Street, Manhattan

An increase in Manhattan listings discourages landlords from raising asking rents.


Median rent for new leases slipped again in New York City last month—and the decline was more pronounced for Manhattan—part of a trend you can expect to see carrying into the new year. That’s good news for renters who may be taking advantage of the slower winter months to score a deal on a new apartment.

According to the latest edition of the Elliman Report for the Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens rental markets, it was the third time in a row Manhattan median rent for new leases slipped month over month, dropping 4.6 percent to $4,000. And it was the first time Manhattan median rent saw an annual drop in 27 months: median rent fell 2.3 percent from $4,095 in November 2022.

Jonathan Miller, president and CEO of appraisal firm Miller Samuel and author of the report, points out that November’s median rent is 9.1 percent lower than the August peak of $4,400.

“Median rent is falling faster than anticipated,” Miller says. But the downward slide doesn’t match the pace of rocket ship-like rent increases last year. So while rents are expected to continue to slip in the months ahead as lower mortgage rates lure renters into the sales market, you can expect to see incremental changes as opposed to steep declines, he explains.

Manhattan listings continue to increase each month, and that competition discourages landlords from raising rents. Inventory was up 1.6 percent from October and nearly 30 percent compared to November 2022.

There were nearly a third fewer renters signing new leases in Manhattan compared to October, but 9.7 percent more than in November 2022.

Despite the slower pace for the Manhattan rental market, bidding wars are still a trend, representing 14 percent of new leases, according to Miller. The all-time record was 22 percent in June 2022.

“The percentage of bidding wars has been stuck in the mid-teens even though rents are softening,” Miller says. Bidding wars were more prevalent for smaller apartments. In November, they were 17.2 percent for studios, 15.6 percent for one bedrooms, 10.9 percent for two bedrooms, and 9.1 percent for three bedrooms.

Miller says he's not clear why there’s more activity for smaller units, but one theory could be that renters are keen to lock in lower rents and willing to sacrifice space.

No discounts in Brooklyn

Median rent in Brooklyn was $3,453, a drop of .1 percent compared to the prior month and up 5.9 percent compared to the prior year—marking the 23rd time median rent has increased year over year. Brooklyn rents remain sharply above pre-pandemic levels, the report notes.

Despite these high rents, the number of renters signing new leases jumped 15.7 percent from October and a stunning 83.5 percent compared to 2022—more than doubling the November average for the decade, the report says.

Listings were down 3.8 percent compared to October, but up 10.8 percent if you compare them to the prior year.

Queens median rent is stuck

Apartment hunters can do well in Queens, where the median rent for new leases has barely budged since hitting its lowest level in December 2022 ($3,250). It was $3,155 in November, and nearly flat compared to both the prior month and prior year.

New listings remain flat as well. Lease signings were up slightly last month and 43.9 percent higher than the prior year.

A look at rents by neighborhoods

MNS Real Estate also shared its November 2023 market report for rentals in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx.  The reports drill down into the rental market by apartment size and neighborhood.

Some notable findings for November include: the Manhattan neighborhood with the largest monthly rent increase was Greenwich Village, where rent for non-doorman one bedrooms rose 7.9 percent from $4,284 to $4,622. Non-doorman, two-bedroom rentals in Gramercy and Cheslea also saw similar rent increases last month.



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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