The Last Burst of Summer: August Rental Market Soars

Manhattan Luxury Real Estate - August Rental MarketAutumn is beginning to assert its balmy presence in New York City. With the days slowly becoming shorter, the neighborhood kids back in school, and the ferocious heat cooling to our current mild climate, summer is swiftly becoming a fond, not-quite-distant memory. Though August has ended, its effects will linger well into the fall. We’ve steadily posted throughout the summer about the boost the warmest season gives the Manhattan real estate market -- and predicted that the enthusiastic uptick of the market would continue. But the summer NYC rental season ended with a bang that exceeded even our small blog’s expectations. The Manhattan rental market has recovered completely from this time last year, and jumped ahead in some aspects more than others.

Looking back year-over-year, the August MNS Rental Market Report shows an activity increase of 8.5% overall in Manhattan, with 9.7% in doorman buildings and 5% in non-doorman buildings. Prices have shot up for both types of buildings as well, especially when compared to last year’s prices. With an average year-to-year increase of 8-10% in both doorman and non-doorman rents, and rent up 2.2% overall from last month, it is clear that August has been a banner month for the New York City rental market. August’s tremendous growth has exceeded even the generous predictions of some sharp-eyed property watchers. And surprises in August’s market can be found in the details as well as the season’s general impact.

Tribeca still reigns as the most expensive neighborhood in Manhattan for both doorman and non-doorman buildings overall. In June two-bedroom doorman apartments in the East Village were touted as more bang for your buck, but no longer – the rent for a doorman two-bed in the East Village has shot up almost $400 since July. The Lower East Side, formerly a haven for low rents in an up-and-coming neighborhood, has reached full maturation as well. Doorman apartments in the LES have slowly risen in price since the beginning of the summer, with one-bedrooms and two-bedrooms capping the season by adding an extra $1,000 to the average rent since June, finishing the month at $5,000. Battery Park City, a neighborhood that is closing the door on 40 years of construction, has had a remarkably volatile summer, with prices see-sawing across the board. Even more startling is the price jump in Harlem. Typically the Manhattan renter’s go-to neighborhood for solid deals, doorman two-bedroom apartments in Harlem leapt in price from roughly $3,000 in June to $3,500 by the end of August.

With the summer closing on such a strong note, what is the savvy Manhattan renter to do? First step is to catch your breath and see what happens. The NYC real estate market looks to stabilize in September, especially in comparison to August’s shifting numbers. Next step is to stay alert. Even at current high prices, NYC rental apartments can be snatched up within days of becoming available. And despite August’s growth spurt, rental deals can still be found. Keen eyes may want to watch Manhattan’s West Side. Almost half of August’s rental listings could be found in the Upper West Side, in the Upper East Side, and Midtown West. Non-doorman rentals also continue to be a solid option. As summer melts into fall, get ready for pumpkins, turning leaves and the last push of the Manhattan real estate market before the snows of winter.