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New York City’s vacancy rate is up, new lease signings are down, moving vans are heading to the suburbs, and the usual influx of international college students has failed to materialize. With demand for rentals so low right now, landlords are offering bigger freebies than usual in order to fill apartments.
It's a good time to be looking for a new NYC rental. You can find deals like three months of free rent, waived broker and amenity fees, complimentary wifi, and even gift cards. The deals you find depend on the type of building and the neighborhood you’re looking in.
Philip Lang, chief operating officer and co-founder of Triplemint, says a lack of young renters in NYC has had a big impact on the rental market. Two large demographics, college students and new graduates, who would typically move to the city right now are missing because of restrictions on travel from certain countries and schools holding classes remotely. And, many new hires who would move to NYC are still working remotely.
“We have seen a number of employers delaying start dates or starting remotely, so there's a chance that new hires don't move into the city until January,” Lang says.
Philip Scheinfeld, a broker at Compass, predicts that deals and concessions will get more extreme within the next couple of months. With a potential second wave of Covid, many New Yorkers who fled to places like the Hamptons will likely stay put, he says. And, there will be more rentals left vacant after summer, typically the busiest time to move in NYC, which landlords will need to fill.
Here’s how to scout a deal
So, if you're looking to gain from this shift in the rental market, you’re more likely to find the best deals in larger buildings, specifically new luxury developments that have a lot of inventory to fill. “Smaller buildings with only a few units are less likely to offer these deals,” Scheinfeld says.
You can find deals all over the city but Manhattan neighborhoods like the Upper East Side, Upper West Side, and Hudson Yards that already had a large inventory of apartments pre-Covid are a good place to look.
Lang says that you’ll find the best deals in Manhattan—the vacancy rate for Manhattan is currently 4.33 percent, according to The Elliman Report—but also in Brooklyn which is seeing some turnover as well as renters decamp for other locations.
Here are some buildings currently offering deals
Some of the current deals are going to expire fast. For example, One Hudson Yards, a luxury building in Hudson Yards managed by Related Rentals, is offering two months free plus a $2,000 MasterCard gift card, and they’ll pay the broker fee if you sign your lease and move in by August 31st (which of course is days away—but it doesn't hurt to ask if you can still get this deal if you are interested but can't make the deadline.)
In Brooklyn, PLG, a new luxury development in Prospect Lefferts Gardens, is offering deals for both studio and one-bedroom apartments. For studios, you get two months free, a $2,000 American Express gift card, amenity fees waived for the first year, up to six months of free on-site parking, $1,200 towards moving costs through Moved, and a reduced security deposit for qualified renters. For a one bedroom, you also receive two months free plus amenity fees waived for your first year, up to six months free of on-site parking, $1,300 towards moving costs through Moved, and a reduced security deposit for qualified renters.
MiMA, another Related Rentals building located in Hell’s Kitchen, is offering up to three months free for some apartments, free Starry wifi for a year, $1,500 towards moving expenses, and one month OP for new leases if you move in by September 15th.
Deals are also being offered in other parts of the city, and not just in new developments. StuyTown, managed by Beam Living, is offering up to three months free if you apply by September 6th for any lease that starts by December 31st, depending on the apartment, and free premium wifi and cable for your first year. Peter Cooper Village is also offering the same deals.
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