Rental Market in New York City, a 2008 Year in Review

Real Estate Agent with Douglas Elliman Real Estate

Renting a New York City apartment in 2008 was a far different experience than in 2007.  In 2007 with very little inventory, landlords really set the market.  There was no negotiation, no incentives, no mercy.  Our customers had to make decisions on the spot, have all of their documentation in place, and be ready to get deposit checks in the matter of a few hours because if they didn't somebody else would take the apartment.  Not so much in 2008.  The rental market in New York City is very seasonal, depending on the season and the neighborhood the market fluctuates, the power between the landlord and tenant varies. 

The Real Estate Group New York just released their year end report for the Manhattan rental market.  In 2008 the power shifted to the tenant.  There was an across the board drop in all categories of apartments except for non-doorman studios.

There has been a considerable up-tick in rental business in the last six months.  As some buyers have decided to stay on the sideline and watch what happens to prices, they have continued to rent, and we are getting a lot of renters who are looking to take advantage of the softening market and rent the same or better apartment at dramatically better prices.  As the report outlines prices have adjusted, but where we have really seen a change is in the incentives landlords are willing to pay.  Landlords are trying to keep the stated rent on the leases as high as possible, so they are offering to pay the broker commissions, free month's rent, pay for moving costs, a gym membership. 


The most aggressive management buildings that I have seen are including 2-3 months free rent and paying the broker commission.  These buildings are in the financial district where the Wall Street crisis is at its epicenter. We do a lot of rentals in the Upper West Side and I would say that rents are negotiable in a 5-10% depending on the unit.  There are a number of full service, renovated, doorman buildings that are paying the broker fee and willing to negotiate on their units.

The management companies want to keep the stated price on the lease as high as possible even though with all of the incentives the amortized amount could be 10-20% less, because if the market rebounds a year from now they will be at a higher base rent to renegotiate.

 For more information, please contact Morgan Evans or call 917-837-8869

Disclaimer: All information in this post is subject to change without notice. Subject matter: is an opinion, is not guaranteed, may be time sensitive, and may be based on information collected from several sources which may or may not be reliable at the time of sourcing.

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Morgan Evans is a Licensed Real Estate salesperson in Manhattan New York specialize in neighborhoods such as: Greenwich Village, Soho, Union Square, Upper East Side, Upper West Side, Chelsea, Midtown West, Midtown East, Nolita, Lower East side, Financial District in Manhattan. Morgan specialize in working with international buyer, high net worth buyers,  parents buying for children and investors buyers. Contact him today by calling (917)837-8869.
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Eileen Hsu
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Manhattan, NY

Great informative post, I enjoy learning about rental market as we all know that right now the market is shifting, it is important to be versatile and adaptable!

Jan 22, 2009 11:47 AM #1
Sonny Kwan
Quantum Group Commercial - Residential - Lease Seattle, WA - Mercer Island, WA

Great information on the New york rental market Morgan, It's been a while since you last posted a blog, I miss reading them. keep it up

Jan 23, 2009 12:18 AM #2
Richard Ives
Chicago, IL

Great information on your rental market Morgan.

Have a great week.

Jan 26, 2009 03:43 AM #3
Jon Currier
Springer Realty Group - Philadelphia, PA

My Philadelphia market is the same way, Ive seen a major difference in the amount of private homes now being rented instead of sold, giving the management companies less demand and therefore move in specials to try and entice a renter somehow.

Feb 03, 2009 05:29 AM #4
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