Fewer Landlords Cut Prices as Rents Increase at Fastest Pace in Four Years

Renters are facing an unusually competitive fall rental season, with fewer discounts offered by landlords and rent growth continuing to increase at record paces, according to the October 2019 StreetEasy Market Reports. Landlords know that would-be buyers are waiting for home prices to come down and are choosing to rent in the meantime, allowing landlords to offer fewer discounts than usual.

“The spike in demand for rentals we’re seeing this year means that landlords don’t have to work as hard to attract a tenant this winter season,” said StreetEasy Economist Nancy Wu. “New Yorkers looking to sign a new lease this winter should expect tougher negotiations and fewer concessions, and should be prepared to move when they find the right apartment.”

The share of rent cuts typically peaks during the fall, and while October did bring the highest share of discounts of 2019, percentages have not been this low in October since 2015, StreetEasty said. Landlords in Brooklyn offered the fewest discounts, with only 17% of rentals getting a cut, a decrease of 3.1 percentage points from last October. In Queens, this figure fell to 18.1%, down 1.9 percentage points from a year prior. In Manhattan, 23.4% of rentals were discounted, down just slightly from last year (less than a percentage point).

Rent prices were directly correlated with the lack of discounts — in all three boroughs analyzed, rents reached new record highs. The StreetEasy Rent Index increased the most in Brooklyn, rising 4.3% to $2,720. Queens and Manhattan were not far behind, with increases of 3.4% and 3.1%, reaching record highs of $2,202 and $3,315, respectively.