No. of available apartments in Brooklyn increases — slowly

June 22, 2022 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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After 18 months of decline, the number of available rental apartments is finally increasing, according to a new market report by StreetEasy. However, in Brooklyn, rental units are opening up at a much slower pace than in Manhattan.

Citywide, there were 28,325 rentals listed on StreetEasy, a well-known real estate search engine and website, in May. That’s the highest it’s been since October 2021, when there were 30,977 rentals available. 

This is welcome news, especially for prospective renters who have recently struggled to find available units, attended crowded rental open houses, or even experienced bidding wars. 

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However, rent prices are still climbing. In May, the citywide median asking rent hit a record high $3,349, a 34 percent increase from the near record lows seen last year during the height of the pandemic. 

In Brooklyn, there were 9,598 rentals available in May, up from 9,021 in April. This is just over 10 percent higher than February, when Brooklyn inventory reached its lowest point with 8,719 rentals available, the report said. 

One area of Brooklyn that has seen a small yet steady increase is Northwest Brooklyn, consisting of neighborhoods like Downtown Brooklyn, DUMBO, Fort Greene and Boerum Hill. 

In May, there were 1,379 units available for rent in Northwest Brooklyn, which is up from 1,239 in April and 1,046 in December 2021 (the low for inventory during the pandemic).

Manhattan rental inventory bottomed out in December 2021 when only 10,433 rental units were available in the borough. In May of this year, there were 13,933 units available — a 33.5 percent increase since the low. 

For context, in May 2019 (a year before the pandemic), Manhattan had 21,881 rental units available, so inventory is still significantly lower than what would be considered a normal spring season. 

 Queens was the only borough StreetEasy analyzed where rental inventory declined month-over-month. There were 3,749 rental units available on StreetEasy in May, down from 3,917 in April. 

Boerum Hill is in “Northwest Brooklyn,” where the number of available rental apartments has seen a small but steady increase, according to StreetEasy. Eagle file photo

All submarkets in Queens experienced a month-over-month decline in inventory, with Northwest Queens — which includes Astoria, Long Island City, and Sunnyside — saw the most significant drop. Northwest Queens inventory has been falling steadily since March 2021, and as of May was down to 1,593 units: the lowest since April 2020.

According to Zillow senior economist Josh Clark, these inventory trends make a lot of sense, given what has transpired over the last year. Zillow is the parent company of StreetEasy.

“During the pandemic, the biggest deals were happening in the most expensive parts of the city, especially Downtown Manhattan. Fast forward to now, those pandemic deals have dried up, and renters who were able to afford living in the city’s most expensive neighborhoods are now being faced with the reality of a fully recovered market,” says Clark. 

“Those renters are now looking for more affordable places to live, especially in Brooklyn and Queens, which is why inventory is not recovering as quickly in those areas,” he added.


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