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NYC rents hit record highs in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens

Median rents in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Northwest Queens hit record highs in February as New Yorkers grapple with an ongoing affordability crisis, a new report found.

New lease signings also climbed, setting year-over-year records in Manhattan and Queens and the second-highest record for Brooklyn, according to the latest analysis by real estate company Douglas Elliman and appraisers Miller Samuel.

“We are seeing rents rise, which is a seasonal pattern, but we’re starting to see them break records. And that has not been the pattern since last year,” said Miller Samuel president Jonathan Miller.

“The idea that higher mortgage rates are creating more upward pressure on rents, combined with a strong local economic picture such as low unemployment [and] higher wages, is putting pressure on the rental market,” he explained. “And this is happening across the city.”

Manhattan rents rose to $4,230, up almost 2% from the month before and 3.3% more than it was a year ago. That’s 20.9% higher than pre-pandemic rents in February 2020.

Meanwhile, the median rate for Manhattan studios dropped 1% from January to $3,100 — $100 more than it was a year ago.

The median rent was $3,499 in Brooklyn, unchanged from the previous month but nearly 3% above what it was in the month last year. It’s also nearly 13% more than it was pre-COVID.

Studios in the borough went for $2,951, the same as in February 2023 but down from $3,000 this January.

The Northwest Queens region saw rents unchanged annually but 1.2% up from the month before at $3,239 — 11.7% above pre-pandemic. Median rent for studios was an even $3,000, down 1.1% from January and $8 more than the same time last year.

It comes as half of New Yorkers are struggling to afford daily basics and the city reported its lowest rental vacancy rate in decades.

But according to Miller the market will only heat up with the approach of summer, when leasing activity typically peaks.

“So that would correlate with rising prices as well,” he said.