Manhattan apartment rents are on the decline — unless you’re living in a no-frills building without a doorman. For those units, rents just hit a record.
While new luxury apartments with doormen — and other extras, like pools and gyms — are proliferating and landlords are cutting deals to get them filled, renters who seek more affordable havens have been driving up demand for older, basic units, for which the supply is more fixed.
The median rent for Manhattan buildings without doormen jumped 5.8 percent in April from a year earlier to $2,995, the highest in records dating back to September 2011, according to a report by appraiser Miller Samuel Inc. and brokerage Douglas Elliman Real Estate. In buildings that have door attendants, the median fell 3.1 percent to $3,758, the biggest annual decline in more than four years.
“You have a lot of people looking for deals out there because the rents just got pushed so high,” said Hal Gavzie, Douglas Elliman’s executive director of leasing.
A surge in construction of new apartment towers has given tenants more choices, and some relief from years of relentless rent increases. In 2017, more than 5,500 newly built units — most of them high-end — will be added to Manhattan’s market-rate rental inventory, data from brokerage Citi Habitats show. That jump in supply means owners of fancier buildings need to work harder to lure tenants, offering sweeteners such as months of free rent and payment of broker fees, on top of reductions in asking prices.
Publicly traded landlord Equity Residential, for example, is letting renters pay reduced deposits of $1,000 at many of its Manhattan properties, all of which count doormen as a standard, among other amenities. The company has said that New York City job growth is weak in the high-paying industries that produce employees with the means to rent at its properties. At Equity Residential’s newest Manhattan building, at 170 Amsterdam Ave., on the Upper West Side, one-bedrooms start at $4,230.
Median rents in that Midtown East neighborhood fell 5.8 percent in April from a year earlier, to $3,450. Costs also fell in some of Manhattan’s priciest areas. In the combined neighborhoods of Tribeca and Soho, the median dropped 6.2 percent to $5,997, while Chelsea rents declined 4.2 percent to $4,075. On the Upper West Side, the median was $3,550, down 3.5 percent.