The Search

Rents grew seven times faster than wages in NYC last year

  • Average asking rents jumped 8.6 percent from 2022 to 2023 according to StreetEasy
  • New Good Cause eviction law protects more tenants from high rent increases
Celia Young Headshot
By Celia Young  |
May 8, 2024 - 11:30AM
New York City style apartment buildings exterior view with windows and fire escapes

NYC experienced the biggest jump in average asking rents from 2022 to 2023 of any city in the United States, according to StreetEasy.


The rent is still too damn high, and it’s growing faster than wages can keep up, according to a new report from StreetEasy.

Asking rents in New York City grew seven times faster than average hourly wages did in Gotham from 2022 to 2023, according to data from StreetEasy, its parent company Zillow, and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

While earnings increased by 1.2 percent on average from 2022 to 2023, average asking rents grew by 8.6 percent during that same period, according to the report.  

“Rent growth has been moderating across much of the country, but in NYC, it still hasn’t been enough,” said Kenny Lee, StreetEasy’s senior economist. “The city continues to struggle with highly limited available inventory, which—in the face of high demand supported by a strong job market—has kept rents rising.”

NYC experienced the biggest jump in average asking rents from 2022 to 2023 of any city in the United States, with Providence, R.I., and Cincinnati, Ohio, tied for second with a 7.3 percent increase. 

But those higher rent bills don’t always encourage New Yorkers to move because of the high costs associated with switching apartments in NYC. A move typically requires you to fork over thousands of dollars to cover a broker fee, a moving company, first month’s rent, and a security deposit.

“Elevated asking rents, in addition to the high upfront cost of moving, make moving to and within the city increasingly expensive,” Lee said.

Many NYC tenants protected from big rent hikes

As rents rise, it’s important to remember that lots of tenants in NYC have protections from sky-high rent increases. 

If you live in a rent stabilized apartment, your rent can only increase a certain percentage each year as set by the Rent Guidelines Board. (If you’re not sure if your apartment is rent-stabilized, request your rent history from the Department of Housing and Community Renewal online or by mail, and check out Brick’s story on researching your apartment’s rent history here). 

Some market-rate renters are also protected from rent increases above 8.82 percent this year under the city’s recently passed Good Cause eviction law. While there are a lot of exemptions, including renters in co-op or condo buildings, take a look at this Brick Underground story and the nonprofit Housing Justice for All to see if you’re covered by the law. Your landlord should also notify you if Good Cause applies to your building.

Remember: All rent increases are negotiable

Even if you don’t have additional legal protections, there are lots of ways to negotiate a lower rent increase at renewal time.

You can figure out what your neighbors are paying so you know if an increase is justified, and can (politely) make a counter offer, noting that you’ve been a good tenant and that the increase could push you out. (Make sure to check out “8 ways to negotiate a smaller rent increase at lease renewal time,” too).  

If you do move, find a no-fee apartment

One of the biggest costs of moving is the dreaded broker fee—the roughly 12 to 15 percent of the annual rent you pay to the broker who showed you the apartment. While there’s an ongoing effort to require landlords to pay the broker if the owner was the one to hire them, right now, tenants shoulder the burden of broker fees.

Luckily, there are a lot of websites where you can search for fee-free units, and you can also find a low-cost apartment by taking on another renter’s lease, renting in a condo, or finding a building with multiple vacancies. (For a full list of tips on finding a cheap apartment, check out How to find an inexpensive (or even cheap!) NYC rental apartment: Brick’s best advice). 

Or, try to find a rent-stabilized apartment to avoid high rent increases in the long run. You can also apply to the NYC housing lottery via the city’s website Housing Connect, though renters apply for years before securing a unit.

Celia Young Headshot

Celia Young

Senior Writer

Celia Young is a senior writer at Brick Underground where she covers New York City residential real estate. She graduated from Brandeis University and previously covered local business at the Milwaukee Business Journal, entertainment at Madison Magazine, and commercial real estate at Commercial Observer. She currently resides in Brooklyn.

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.