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Some Rents in New York Are Actually Going Down

Home Prices In 20 U.S. Cities Increase At Slower PaceHome Prices In 20 U.S. Cities Increase At Slower Pace
Apartment buildings stand on the Upper East Side neighborhood of New York.Photograph by Victor J. Blue — Bloomberg via Getty Images

After a historic runup that has made it among the least affordable rental markets in America, it seems New York is cooling off—just barely. The most recent report from real estate consultants Miller Samuel has the median rental price in Manhattan down a whopping 2.8% since this time last year, with an even bigger 5.2% drop in Queens. The exception is Brooklyn, where the median is up 2.7% year over year.

This is beginning to look like a trend, continuing soft or steady numbers from last month, and showing rising inventories generally outpacing new leases.

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There are two notable caveats. Speaking to Curbed New York, Miller Samuel’s Jonathan Miller said a lot of the decline in Manhattan and Queens is in the luxury rental market, meaning average New Yorkers might feel less of an impact. And even where unit rents are going down, Elliman’s report shows prices per square foot holding steady or going up—which suggests that some of the apparent decline might just be thanks to smaller spaces going on the market.

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And of course, these are declines from recent all-time highs, and they don’t do much to get NYC closer to actual affordability. Renters in the Big Apple spend an average of almost half of their income on housing, while most housing experts consider 30% to be the threshold for a rental to be considered “affordable.”