The mean streets of New York City are looking a tad bit less mean these days, at least in some areas. That’s not because the riots have ended or the murder rate is going back down. (Neither of those things are true.) But a serious number of people are packing up and getting out while the getting is good. How do we know? According to a recent report from CNBC, the number of vacant apartments in the city has reached a level never seen since these records have been kept. Well over ten thousand apartments are sitting empty as renters and owners alike flee the city for safer (if not greener) pastures.
The number of empty apartments for rent in Manhattan soared to their highest level in recent history, topping 13,000, as residents fled the city and landlords struggled to find new tenants.
The number of apartments for rent, or listing inventory, more than doubled over last year and set a record for the 14 years since data started being collected, according to a report from Douglas Elliman and Miller Samuel. As the number of apartments listed for rent hit 13,117, the number of new leases signed fell by 23%.
July also saw the largest fall in rental rates in nearly a decade, dropping 10%. Landlords are now offering an average of 1.7 months of free rent to try to lure tenants, according to the report, which is also a recent high.
Before anyone jumps to the conclusion that the high number of vacancies is a result of the predicted pandemic recession eviction crisis, that’s not the case. There’s still a moratorium on evictions or rental rate increases in Gotham and that moratorium was recently extended yet again. These cases aren’t examples of people being kicked out of their homes. They are choosing to leave voluntarily.