Photo: Robert Clark

There were plenty of deals to be had in April but market conditions remained challenging for many NYC renters.

City-wide, landlords were doling out record or near-record levels of incentives to fill empty units as rents remained mostly stable but still relatively high. That’s according to a new report released today by New York brokerage Douglas Elliman.

“Right now, the NYC rental market characterized by concessions but surround by a reasonably solid economy,” Jonathan Miller, CEO of the appraisal firm Miller Samuel, and the author of the report, tells BuzzBuzzNews.

April saw the third highest landlord incentive share in the Manhattan market in over 7 years, with some 44.3 percent of new leases containing incentives. This was up substantially from the 28.6 percent recorded last year at the same time and marginally above the previous month’s reading of 41.7 percent.

Incentives are typically a period of free rent used by landlords to keep units occupied, which in turn keeps the vacancy rate down (as seen this month in Manhattan). Some landlords are even luring new tenants with more high-tech incentives like Netflix subscriptions and Amazon gift cards.

Market conditions was very similar across the river in Brooklyn and Queens.

The share of leases with incentives climbed to a new record for the fifth consecutive month. Over half of all new Brooklyn leases contained incentives in April — nearly four times higher than last year’s recorded level (14.7 percent).

“An oversupply of inventory in Brooklyn is not expected to abate anytime soon nor will the current trend of record levels of incentives that began last December,” Miller says.

And a record 65 percent of new leases in Queens contained landlord incentives in April — the fifth time the record has been broken over the last seven months.

“While landlord concessions remain common throughout the city, rental prices still remain relatively high, so renters shouldn’t anticipate severe cuts from the asking rent,” Miller advises.

Over the last year, the average rent in Manhattan slipped 1.7 percent to $4,005. At the same time, the median rent fell 1.8 percent to $3,355 — the fifth consecutive month of annual declines.

Manhattan’s listing inventory was down nearly 14 percent in April compared to last year, putting upward pressure on pricing.

Meantime, the average Brooklyn rent declined 1.2 percent year-over-year to $3,118 in April and dipped 1.7 percent annually in Queens to $2,992. There were 13.4 percent fewer Brooklyn apartments to choose from in April and 13.3 fewer Queens apartments compared to the same time last year.

Despite these declines, New Yorkers shouldn’t expect to see any big changes in the rental market right away.

“The market is weakening in the form of a slow grind, not a quick reset. Typically, the higher the price, the softer the market conditions,” Miller says.

Click here to read the entire report.

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