Rent changes in Manhattan during the month of March varied by apartment size year over year, but in Brooklyn, rents rose across the board.

The Corcoran Group’s newly released Rental Market Analysis for March 2020 finds that compared to the month prior, rents in Manhattan and Brooklyn increased for some apartment categories, but declined for others, which suggests that the current public health crisis has not yet influenced overall pricing.

While changes to Manhattan rents varied by apartment size year-over-year, rents increased across the board in Brooklyn, which reflects the borough’s increased desirability to tenants.

From February to March, rents for Manhattan studio and two-bedroom apartments decreased 2%, while they declined 10% for one-bedroom homes.  In contrast, rents for three-bedroom units climbed a substantial 32%. A signed lease for a $25,000 per month rental at The Halcyon (305 East 51st Street) caused this noteworthy jump.

In Brooklyn, rent changes were a mixed bag as well.  Pricing for smaller apartment sizes (studios and one-bedrooms) increased 5% and 2% respectively.  Meanwhile, rents for two- and three-bedroom homes were down 3% and 2%.

When examining concessions, 34% of rental transactions brokered by The Corcoran Group offered a free month’s rent and/or payment of the broker fee to entice new tenants in March 2020 –higher than the 30% in February.  The percentage of concessions is also up from the same period last year.  In March 2019, 29% of leases included one.

These move-in incentives continued to be much more prevalent in Brooklyn, where they were found on 49% of leases in March 2020 – versus 28% of Manhattan leases during the same period.

In March, the Manhattan vacancy rate was 1.12% – nearly unchanged from February’s rate of 1.11%.  It is the lowest vacancy rate seen since August 2019 (when it was 1.17%).  We attribute the steady (but low) vacancy rate to the fact that due to the pandemic, many tenants are simply staying put.

Additional relevant findings of the March 2020 Corcoran rental report are outlined below.  

  • In March 2020, the average monthly rental price for a Manhattan studio was $2,408. For one-bedroom homes, the average was $3,031.  For two-bedrooms, the average rent was $4,266.  Finally, the average three-bedroom apartment rented for $8,127.** (impacted by the $25K The Halcyon rental noted above)

Brooklyn studio apartments (in the 14 neighborhoods studied) rented for $2,721 per month on average.  For Brooklyn one-bedrooms, the average rent was $3,216 – while rents for two- and three-bedrooms clocked in at $3,986 and $5,367 respectively.

  • The most expensive Manhattan neighborhood for renters in March was SoHo/TriBeCa with a median rent of $7,255.  The West Village was the second-priciest area – with a median rent of $4,195.

For Brooklyn, DUMBO was the most expensive neighborhood with a median rent of $4,675 – followed by Brooklyn Heights, where the median rent was $4,005 per month.

  • Manhattan rents were lowest in March 2020 in Morningside/Washington Heights, with a median rent of $2,260.  When examining neighborhoods below 96th Street, Murray Hill was the least-expensive neighborhood for renters, with a median rent of $2,600.

Bedford-Stuyvesant, with a median March rent of $2,550, was the least-expensive Brooklyn neighborhood tracked in our report, followed by Bushwick– where the median rent was $2,575.

  • With a vacancy rate of 0.85%, the Upper East Side was the Manhattan neighborhood with least inventory in March 2020, followed by Murray Hill at 0.89%.  On the other end of the spectrum, the vacancy rate was highest in Midtown West (at 1.29%) and the Upper West Side (at 1.28%).

Click here to view market statistics from February 2020, and click here to view market statistics from prior months.

Read the full New York City rental report.

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