Are Rents Headed Down?

Starting at $3,340—below average!

One of the confounding things about the past three years is that while the economy has slumped and housing has been an absolute mess nationwide, in New York, we are almost back to the same levels as during the boom, especially as far as rentals are concerned. Crain’s sees some softening ahead, however.

With the approach of winter and increasing jitters on Wall Street, rents are expected to be stable at best, according to Gary Malin, president of Citi Habitats, the city’s largest residential rental firm.

“There are a lot of question marks in the market with Wall Street layoffs,” said Mr. Malin. “Rents won’t fall off a cliff, but they will be more flexible and vacancy will creep up if negative news intensifies.” [snip]

“Little by little I am seeing concessions creep back, especially in the fringe neighborhoods,” said Gus Waite of brokerage A.C. Lawrence & Co., referring to areas like the Far West Side and the Financial District.

Landlords with empty units entering Thanksgiving and Christmas will likely reintroduce concessions to rent out apartments, according to Mr. Malin.

Layoffs would certainly have an impact, but the irony is that as long as the economy is down and mortgages are still impossible to come by, no one will be buying, and so demand for rentals will stay up, and so rents might not fall, at least not that much.

Meanwhile, nothing has been built—why do you think everyone is scrambling to get projects in the ground on the Brooklyn waterfront? So this only constrains the supply further. Will that rent tab be a Christmas present? Maybe, but there are still plenty of Scrooges out there.

mchaban [at] | @MC_NYC

Are Rents Headed Down?