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Manhattan Apartments Haven’t Been This Cheap to Rent Since 2013

Manhattan renters have never had this many apartments to choose from. And it’s been seven years since rents were this low.

September proved to be another winning month for bargain-hunters committed to finding a place in New York City’s costliest borough — and another month of worry for landlords trying to fill mounting vacancies.

Apartment listings tripled from a year earlier to 15,923, the largest monthly inventory in records dating back to 2006, according to a report Thursday by appraiser Miller Samuel Inc. and brokerage Douglas Elliman Real Estate. The vacancy rate set a new high for the fifth straight month, rising to 5.75%.

Renters are finding few reasons to sign leases in Manhattan, and even fewer to pay a premium to live there in the Covid-19 era. Offices are still mostly empty, public schools are largely remote and restaurants and cultural attractions like museums are operating at limited capacity.

“I’m not sure how this changes in the short term or over the next six months,” said Jonathan Miller, president of Miller Samuel. “The direction of the rental market is determined by when there is a vaccine.”

Read more: Manhattan Landlords’ Latest Lure: Free Rent Until Next Year

To get deals done, landlords are piling on the sweeteners — rent-free months, payment of brokers’ fees and monetary incentives like gift cards and Citi Bike memberships.

Concessions were offered in a record 55% of all new Manhattan leases signed in September, according to the report. With those breaks factored in, the median rent fell 11% to $3,036. That’s the lowest it’s been since July 2013.

Studio apartments had the biggest decline in rents, tumbling 17% to a median of $2,814.

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