The New York City real estate market is returning to its prepandemic normal, but anyone looking for a rental apartment should prepare for a possible post-pandemic surprise. Bidding wars — long the scourge of prospective home buyers — are now being waged for rentals, especially in the hippest neighborhoods that are within walking distance of newly reopening office buildings.
“What we’re now seeing is that certain neighborhoods — particularly those below 34th street on the West Side — are now coveted and in demand for rentals,” says Hal Gavzie, executive director of leasing at Douglas Elliman. “We’ve seen rental bidding wars, with multiple applications and inquiries leading to bids that are $100 to $750 above listing price,” he added.
Median rental prices dropped during the pandemic when a lot of renters left the city, and could take months to fully recover.
Mr. Gavzie said that this feels like a different market from past years because while corporations are slowly coming back, there is still a lot of inventory in neighborhoods like Midtown East and areas like Hell’s Kitchen. But he notes the rental prices in these neighborhoods will take a little longer to reach pre-Covid levels because “they’re not fully back yet,” but Lower Manhattan has started to see prices bouncing back to prepandemic levels.
was bid up to $4,400, and the other ground-floor unit with three French doors opening into a 615-square-foot wraparound private garden, complete with Japanese maple and climbing ivy, was bid up to $5,000.
“We had a lot of people reach out to say that their offices were reopening, but given the speed of the recovery, the office openings were expedited,” Mr. Glazer said. “They were obligated to be in, and if someone started their search in May, two months is not enough time to buy a place — so there’s an urgency.”
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