According to StreetEasy, the median rent has fallen below $3,000. That is the lowest price since 2011.
The third quarter of 2020 also marked the first time since 2010 that Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens all recorded year-over-year rent declines.
StreetEasy says renters are no longer willing to pay the so-called “commute premium” of living in Manhattan, because so many people are working from home.
Any rent drop in Manhattan or in New York could provide opportunities for people who even just a short time ago had little chance to live there.
At the same time, dropping below $3,000 for the median suggests that rent is still pretty high. Who can take advantage of this drop? Those with resources to do so, not necessarily people who need affordable or cheap housing. Indeed, if these lower rents quickly induce a number of people to take advantage, then rents could stabilize and head back up.
Perhaps there is little that could actually move rents and housing prices in certain housing markets to a point where many more residents could take advantage. A pandemic is unlikely to lead to the production of more housing and struggles with employment, among other factors, will limit who would move to big cities with temporarily lower prices. At the same time, COVID-19 could help nudge conversations about housing in a productive direction.