John Walkup of UrbanDigs, a real estate data firm, said nearly 1,500 new Manhattan listings came on the market the week of the reopening, about 500 more than you’d see in a normal June. “And while we’ve seen a slow but steady increase in leases signed, it’s low compared to last year, so the question is ‘What will happen with that excess inventory?’ ”
“Everything is supply and demand,” said Mr. Malin. “And there’s a lot of supply but much less demand. Now that everyone is beginning to see what is out there, owners will modify their prices. But most landlords are not going to make a quick decision to do a big price cut. They’ll see what the numbers are, what the traffic is like, what the offers are.”
In Queens, median rental prices in June were down 5.7 percent year over year, to $2,700 a month, according to Douglas Elliman. Brooklyn rental prices were essentially flat, but there were more and deeper concessions in each borough and they showed the same imbalance as Manhattan, with huge increases in new listings and annual declines in new leases.
While lease signings are expected to pick up in July, that may not extend to all segments of the market. Larger, luxury apartments, for example, saw some of the biggest price drops over the last few months, a phenomenon Mr. Miller attributed to the high-end market being more mobile. And wealthy New Yorkers who left the city when the pandemic hit and are comfortably ensconced in country homes for the summer are unlikely to rush back to sign new leases before fall.
It’s too soon to know how many of those who left the city will relocate permanently, but the ongoing uncertainty of the coronavirus situation — especially the announcement on Wednesday that the city’s public schools would open only part-time in the fall — may mean that other renters will delay their apartment hunts as well, especially if they have the flexibility to do so and don’t find the current rental prices compelling.
“It’s certainly not a strong or normal market by any stretch of the imagination. Prices are falling, concessions are rising, the amount of concessions are rising,” said Mr. Miller. “Everything is weakening. In many ways, I think the rental market could be hit way bigger than the sales market.”