NEW YORK, Nov. 9 (Xinhua) -- A number of New Yorkers are seizing on the exodus of renters during the pandemic and the market's down trend to upgrade and cut costs within city limits, reported The Wall Street Journal on Monday.
For example, "Manhattan had nearly 16,000 empty rental apartments as of September, which was 5.75 percent of the borough's total apartment inventory. That's the highest vacancy rate in at least 14 years," the paper quoted a report from brokerage Douglas Elliman and appraiser Jonathan Miller as saying.
The lower demand has pressured landlords to capitulate on price in a way most New Yorkers have never witnessed before, it said.
Median rent is down 11 percent in Manhattan on an annual basis, according to the Elliman report, reaching its lowest point in nine years this fall.
Landlords are also picking up broker fees typically paid by tenants. They are offering more deal sweeteners, such as one or two months of free rent, said the report.
A record 44.7 percent of apartments in Manhattan had discounted asking rent during the third quarter of 2020, according to analysis by listings website StreetEasy.
Meanwhile, rents in the outer boroughs aren't falling to the same extent as in Manhattan, according to reports from both StreetEasy and Elliman. Brokers say the deeper price cuts in Manhattan are likely due to the spike in vacancies there.
The WSJ interviewed several renters and quoted them as saying that the current situation gave them strong impetus to upgrade their living standard.
"These renters can't imagine leaving New York City, brokers say. Their jobs and lives are still here. And if the thought of leaving crossed their minds, the rare chance to upgrade apartments quickly replaced it," reported the paper.