Finally Making It to Manhattan

But how long will Manhattan rental prices remain where they are, with employers calling workers back to the office, schools resuming in-person classes and vaccinated 20-somethings who spent the last year in their parents’ homes eager to resume their social lives?

“You have to be careful if you move into a place you can only afford because of the concessions,” said Susan McGettigan, a Corcoran real estate agent. “These luxury buildings that are offering three months free, it’s not going to last. I’ve already seen a lot of deals going away.”

Gary Malin, the chief operating officer of the Corcoran Group, sees the surging sales market as a precursor to a rental market rebound. “There is huge sentiment — people missed the city,” he said. “New York City is on sale, comparatively speaking, but it’s still expensive and it’s getting tighter.”

In May, there were 9,491 leases signed in Manhattan, breaking the record set a month earlier for the most signings since 2008, according to Douglas Elliman. And the median rent, including concessions, was $3,037 a month, up 8.8 percent from the previous month, the biggest monthly increase in nearly a decade, Mr. Miller said, adding that the market was nearing a pricing bottom.

Landlords seem eager to return to prepandemic pricing, going so far as to offer leases for less than a year, in the hopes that rents will rebound sooner rather than later.

Braden Macdonald, 26, a flight attendant, signed an eight-month lease for a three-bedroom on the Lower East Side in November, moving in with one of his roommates from an apartment share in Bedford-Stuyvesant.

At the time, there were so many vacancies that the broker showed them two other apartments in the same building and one in the building next door. The landlord wanted $2,400, but Mr. Macdonald and his roommate negotiated the rent down to $2,000, paying the same per person as they had in Brooklyn and gaining an extra room.

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