Coronavirus-hit NYC could see rent cuts as apartment rentals plummet

New leases in Manhattan dropped 71% in April

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Demand for apartment leasing in New York City has fallen sharply in the past month amid the coronavirus pandemic, with continued stay-at-home orders in place restricting real estate agents from showing homes in person.

New leases in Manhattan dropped 71 percent in April from a year earlier, appraiser Miller Samuel Inc. and brokerage Douglas Elliman Real Estate said in a report Thursday.

Demand for apartment rentals in New York City fell sharply in the last two months. 

Brooklyn rental leases declined 67 percent, with inventory down nearly 30 percent, while northwest Queens saw a 65 percent decline, with inventory down nearly 30 percent, according to the report.

The city’s home vacancy rate increased to 2.42 percent last month, the highest for April in more than a decade, with a median rent price of $3,650. And with apartments sitting empty, landlords may be inclined to strike up new deals with new or existing tenants, like rent cuts.

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“As ‘shelter in place’ rules are eased in the coming months, we anticipate rental prices softening as job loss will weigh heavy on the housing,” Jonathan Miller, president of Miller Samuel, told FOX Business.

Overall home prices, meanwhile, are also expected to drop this spring but could rebound by the end of next year. Economists from real estate website Zillow earlier this week said home sales could fall 60 percent in the spring, as stay-at-home orders imposed throughout the nation to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 crippled the U.S. economy.

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