Finally good news for summer renters! Landlords offering new concession: Discounted security deposits

May 2, 2017 | By Heather Senison
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New York City renters are experiencing some reprieve this year, with rents dropping through the winter and the offering of concessions still at an all-time high.

Experts predict these trends will continue into the summer as landlords work to get their vacant spaces filled.

According to StreetEasy, rents in Brooklyn and Manhattan in February were down $70 per month in Manhattan and $130 per month in Brooklyn from their peak in August 2016, since the listings site began compiling data in January 2009.

Year-over-year in February, rents fell .3 percent to $3,199 in Manhattan and 2.6 percent to $2,787 in Brooklyn, according to StreetEasy.

Grant Long, the site’s senior economist, predicts that 12-13 percent of apartments listed on StreetEasy will offer concessions, such as a free month’s rent or a waived broker fee, this summer.

“But sometimes landlords won’t necessarily advertise concessions but will offer them if you ask,” he added. “Be willing to negotiate to see what you can get this season.”

The offering of concessions has been a significant trend in New York City for a while, but according to Gabby Warshawer, director of research at the listings site CityRealty, some buildings are offering a new kind: discounted security deposits of $500 or $1,000.

“It’s a relatively new thing,” she said.

And though concessions don’t lower rents in the long-term, they might make living in a new building more attainable.

“It’s almost a given in new buildings at this point that you’re gonna be able to negotiate, or it’s gonna be offered off the bat,” she said.

And there are plenty of new buildings for renters to choose from this year -- those who can afford them, that is.

For example, the American Copper Buildings opened recently at 626 First Ave. in Murray Hill and have an average rent of $5,008 on StreetEasy, and The Eugene opened at 435 W. 31st St. in the Hudson Yards, where the average rent is $4,130.

For deals in Manhattan, look in older walk-ups on the Lower East Side and in Chinatown, advised Shane Leese, a data scientist at RentHop, also a listings site.

Brooklyn neighborhoods along the L line are also expected to experience drops in rents this year, he said, and “Queens is also a great option for convenient transportation, larger apartments, and the rainbow of cultural diversity that makes New York so wonderful.”