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Apartment market in Brooklyn surges, new real estate report says

Greenpoint, Bed-Stuy, Downtown all see rapid recovery

August 21, 2021 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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The New York City real-estate rental market recovery is speeding up, especially in Brooklyn, according to StreetEasy’s July market report.

The quick rise in rents can be attributed in part to this summer’s massive spike in demand, the report says. 

“New Yorkers who left town during the pandemic started returning, while those who stayed were upgrading, or moving again to avoid rent increases on their lease. And many people who had always wanted to live in New York City decided that, with prices unusually low this summer, it was finally the right time,” said StreetEasy, a well-known online real estate platform.

Parts of Brooklyn are experiencing a rapid recovery in rent prices, said the report.  Neighborhoods such as Bedford-Stuyvesant, Greenpoint and Downtown Brooklyn all had median asking rent prices that were higher in July 2021 than they were before the pandemic started. 

In the entire city, rental discounts (lower rent, or incentives such as a month’s free rent) are the rarest in Brooklyn, said the report, which was released on Thursday. This reflects a high demand for Brooklyn apartments.

Of all Brooklyn neighborhoods, Greenpoint seems to be the “hottest.” 

Rents in Greenpoint rose the most year-over-year, StreetEasy said. “The median asking rent in the neighborhood reached a record high of $3,395 — $80 more than the previous high in August 2019.” 

The focus on Greenpoint is not new. In 2020, the same StreetEasy platform rated Greenpoint the “neighborhood to watch” for the year. And the neighborhood saw a 67 percent surge in online searches on StreetEasy from 2019 to 2020. 

In the entire borough, the median asking rent in Brooklyn this past July  rose to $2,600, closing in on the pre-pandemic highs of around $2,700 seen in summer 2019. 

In general, the number of available rentals in Brooklyn fell to 17,411 in July — down 33 percent from the peak of inventory supply in August 2020, according to the July report. This was still higher than the amount of inventory available in July 2019 when 15,437 rentals were on the market. 

Throughout the borough, only 8.7 percent of rentals were discounted in July. That’s the lowest share of all boroughs analyzed, and significantly lower than last August when the share of discounts peaked at 26 percent. In July 2020, 24 percent of Brooklyn rentals were discounted.

In the city as a whole, only 9.1 percent of rentals were discounted — a significant drop of 20 percentage points over last year. 

In July 2019, during a typical busy summer rental season, 15.6 percent of rentals were discounted. So this year’s figure of 9.1 percent is the lowest it’s been in a decade. 

Popular areas in Manhattan include Flatiron, the East Village, the Financial District and Nolita, according to the report.

“I expect rental price growth to continue, but not at such a rapid clip,” says StreetEasy economist Nancy Wu. “Renters began returning to the market in full force this summer, and landlords have taken notice. They are trying to make up for the time and money that they lost during the lull of the pandemic by raising prices and erasing discounts.”

In Brooklyn’s neighbor, Queens, the number of rental apartments available remains high, according to the report. 

“Queens’ rental inventory remained relatively elevated compared to Manhattan and Brooklyn. There were 6,266 rentals available in the borough in July, down 21 percent from the inventory peak which occurred in October 2020,” StreetEasy said.

Rents in some of Queens’ most expensive neighborhoods are rising quickly, but still have not met their pre-pandemic levels.

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