NYC Rent Prices Soar, UES Up Nearly 20% This Year

Upper East Side residents are facing shocking rent increases as pandemic concessions expire | Upper East Site
Upper East Side residents are facing shocking rent increases as pandemic concessions expire | Upper East Site

MANHATTAN – The big dip in rent prices across the City last year brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic is all but gone and rent costs are surging once again. According to a new study, the Upper East Side is being hammered with rising rent costs up nearly twenty percent year-to-year.

Data from apartment search site StreetEasy shows that rising rent prices are a result of low apartment inventory and high demand.

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After a glut of vacant apartments when throngs of Manhattanites fled the city in 2020, Manhattan is roaring back and inventory has plummeted to its lowest level in nearly a decade, with just over 13-thousand Manhattan apartments available on StreetEasy in October.

The median rent price on the UES is $2,950/Upper East Site
The median rent price on the UES is $2,950/Upper East Site

“Transient Manhattan renters were most likely to leave the city, either temporarily or permanently, during the height of the pandemic,” says StreetEasy economist Nancy Wu.

 “That drove the highest share of rental vacancies in Manhattan among the boroughs.”

On the Upper East Side, the study says the median rent is $2,950— 18% higher than the same time last year, though lower than the median rent for all of Manhattan, which now stands at $3,330—  just $170 less than the pre-pandemic high of $3,500. 

Movers pack truck in NYC/Robinson Greig, Unsplash
Movers pack truck in NYC/Robinson Greig, Unsplash

If you’re looking for a good deal, those are going to be hard to come by— but you can save money if you’re willing to downsize. 

The StreetEasy study found that studio apartments had the smallest rent increase year-to-year of all apartment sizes in Manhattan. 

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Studio prices are up less than 15% compared to last October— while prices for a two bedroom jumped more than 25% because they’re in much higher demand.

“Renters want more space after more than a year cooped up in their small apartments,” Wu said.

“For many, remote work has brought about some cabin fever. And for those who are able to afford it, adding an extra bedroom or more space in general is a priority.”

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