The average Manhattan rent just hit a new record of $5,588 a month

Hold tight to your wallets, Manhattan denizens! July rents took off like a startled gazelle, shattering records and puzzling analysts. Indeed, the city that never sleeps also seems to be the city whose rents never cease to skyrocket.

One would think Manhattan's gleaming skyscrapers were gilded with gold! In the sultry summer month of July, tenants had to fork out an eye-watering average of $5,588 just to call a corner of this concrete jungle home. That's a hefty 9% jump from last year. Blink, and you might miss another record - a median rent reaching $4,400. Stretch that dollar, and you're paying $84.74 per square foot, a figure released in a riveting report from the duo, Miller Samuel and Douglas Elliman. In an era of unpredictability, one thing remained certain - for the fourth time in a mere five months, Manhattan danced its way to record rents.

Despite many making an exodus during the pandemic blues, Manhattan's rent chart looks like it's been on a strict diet of protein shakes! Up a whopping 30% since 2019. As we bid adieu to July and greeted August, the man with insights, Jonathan Miller, head honcho at Miller Samuel, hinted at another possible record. After all, August's siren song beckons families in search of new nests before schools fling open their gates.

Miller mused, “Might we see yet another month of jaw-dropping records?”

Even with Manhattan shedding 400,000 souls from its midst between 2020 and 2022, the rent gods were unmerciful. Even though whispers in alleyways suggest the population might be making a slow and steady comeback, the numbers are still in limbo, dancing somewhere below the 2019 figures.

Photo: [vankok] ©

Meanwhile, Manhattan's lofty offices, with their sprawling views, echo with emptiness. Remote work's siren call has rendered them just 48% occupied, as revealed by Kastle Systems.

Against this backdrop of a population dip and home offices, the enigma remains: Why do Manhattan rents emulate Icarus, soaring ever higher? Brokers whisper tales of scarce apartments for sale, a scenario birthed by soaring interest rates, pushing eager buyers towards renting. The city's youthful zest, however, brings a fresh influx. Since the pandemic, young professionals have been pouring in, eager to seize Manhattan's opportunities.

With demand surging and apartment listings dwindling, July still saw a paradox. Apartment inventory swelled by 11%, while new lease signings lazily dipped by 6%. To Miller, it's as if Manhattan's eager renters are scraping against their financial ceilings. Perhaps, just perhaps, we're at a tipping point. “Affordability might be the damper,” Miller postulates.

From cozy studios to luxurious three-bedrooms, rents embraced the upward climb. Yet, it's the grander apartments that have witnessed the steepest ascent, with three-bedroom abodes seeing prices surging by over 36%.

Brokers weave tales of Airbnb's allure and recent rent regulations casting shadows over the market. With regulations limiting rent hikes on stabilized units, many landlords feel the pinch. The result? Apartments, once brimming with life, now lay barren.

Yet, Janna Raskopf of Douglas Elliman points to another twist. Despite rents shooting up like fireworks, many have chosen the devil they know. “Tenants, they're digging in their heels. With vacancies low, they're renewing and staying put. This, I reckon, will be the song for months to come.”