In Manhattan and Brooklyn, rents fell across the board and vacancy levels hit a two-year high. As such, move-in incentives were common in both boroughs.

The Corcoran Group has released its Rental Market Analysis for May 2020.

During the month, we noted an overall downward trend for average rents in both Manhattan and Brooklyn, while move-in incentives remain commonplace in the market.  Most notably, we charted a spike in the vacancy rate, to a level not seen in over two years.

To be sure, the ongoing pandemic has impacted all facets of the city’ rental market.  As restrictions on in-person showings of apartments and other business activities are set to ease in the in coming weeks, it will be interesting to see how the market reacts.

From April to May, rents for Manhattan studio and three-bedroom apartments declined 3%, while pricing fell 1% for one-bedroom homes.  In contrast, rents for two-bedroom units rose 2%.

However, Manhattan rents remain higher than they were in May 2019 – with the exception of one-bedroom apartments, where they declined 2%.  The most notable increase was for three-bedroom homes, where they were up 8%.

In Brooklyn, rents were down 2% month-over-month for studio units, while they declined 4% and 3%respectively, for one- and two-bedroom homes.  Meanwhile, pricing for three-bedroom apartments rose 2%.

Year-over-year, Brooklyn rents climbed for smaller apartment sizes, most notably for studios where they increased by 5%.  In a reversal from Manhattan, larger apartments experienced price declines.  Rents for three-bedroom units in Brooklyn fell 9% since last May on average.

When examining concessions, 38% 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 May 2020 – slightly higher than the 37% in April.

In May, the Manhattan vacancy rate was 1.77% – up from April’s rate of 1.37%.  This is the highest vacancy rate tracked since January 2018 – when the rate reached 1.91%.

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

  • In May 2020, the average monthly rental price for a Manhattan studio was $2,482. For one-bedroom homes, the average was $3,085.  For two-bedrooms, the average rent was $4,518.  Finally, the average three-bedroom apartment rented for $6,326.

Brooklyn studio apartments (in the 14 neighborhoods studied) rented for $2,628 per month on average.  For Brooklyn one-bedrooms, the average rent was $3,154 – while rents for two- and three-bedrooms clocked in at $3,898 and $4,715 respectively.

  • The most expensive Manhattan neighborhood for renters in May was Midtown East with a median rent of $3,750.  Murray Hill was the second-priciest area – with a median rent of $3,648.  Please note, due to limited activity, SoHo/TriBeCa was not included in this month’s analysis.

For Brooklyn, DUMBO was the most expensive neighborhood in May with a median rent of $4,580 – followed by Boerum Hill, where the median rent was $3,800 per month.

  • With a vacancy rate of 1.32%, Murray Hill was the Manhattan neighborhood with least inventory in May 2020, followed by the Financial District/Battery Park City at 1.39%.  On the other end of the spectrum, the vacancy rate was highest in the East Village (at 2.31%) and Midtown East (at 2.14%).

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

Read the full New York City rental report.