Analyzing rents here through the pandemic lens

Lots of sources have shown how residential rents are dropping here, and we can witness that with our own eyes as well. But this is the best analysis I have seen yet on the connection between wealth, the pandemic and rents across the city.

StreetEasy crunches its data to show how rents are actually on the rise (slightly, but still) in neighborhoods hardest hit by the pandemic, and the high vacancy rates here in Manhattan (4.3 percent, the highest in 14 years) and dropping rents show how the virus continues to  exacerbate living conditions in some of the poorer pockets of the city.

“Between July 2014 and July 2020, rents in the zip codes that would be most affected by COVID-19 rose by 22%. That’s twice the rate of the city overall, where rents grew 11%. In what would turn out to be low-COVID-19 zip codes, rents rose by 10% in the same period.”

But there analysis goes farther to show that what really affected the spread of the virus in neighborhoods like Elmhurst and Jackson Heights was not urban density or even urban living in general — we are more dense than most of the city — but overcrowding and the number of people living per room. “’Our research showed that it’s not the number of people per square mile, but the number of people per room that is most associated with the spread of the pandemic,’ says Charles McNally, the director of external affairs at NYU’s Furman Center. The national research since then has supported that sustained time in indoor, crowded spaces is the most common way COVID-19 spreads.”

Rental inventory in July 2020 increased by 65 percent in Manhattan, the biggest year-over-year jump since StreetEasy started tracking this figure in 2010. My sources tell me that occupancy at Independence Plaza is the lowest it has been in ages — at 85 percent — though I can’t verify that and there are not *tons* of listings from what I can see — the Stellar Management site shows 15 across the hundreds of apartments over the three towers. A two-bedroom, one bath there is now around $4800.



  1. And somehow incompetent gateway plaza couldn’t get rent stabilization passed in a pandemic

  2. Who would live in NYC cramped apartment if they can live at beach? Or in the suburbs ?

    Work at home will continue
    Everything closed in nyc
    Need mask leaving apt to get in elevator
    In sunburns you can take a walk go to restaurants plenty of room swim in your own pool ice skate etc

    • Lots of people!
      And not everything is closed… parks, restaurants and museums are all open. NYC has and will continue to be the greatest place in the world!