The median rental price in Manhattan, including concessions, was $ 3,036 per month in September, according to realtor Douglas Elliman. That's 11 percent less than a year ago, but it's still way beyond most New Yorkers' ability. According to the Furman Center at New York University, the median rent for the entire metropolitan area was $ 1,467 per month last year.
Without a vaccine, rents across the city will continue to fall, Ms. Wu said, but that trend is masking affordability issues in several neighborhoods hit hard by the coronavirus.
In an analysis of the neighborhoods with the lowest infection rate – affluent neighborhoods like Battery Park City and SoHo in Manhattan – rents fell 1.9 percent from February to July, mainly due to rising vacancies. In the hardest-hit neighborhoods – including East Elmhurst in Queens and Fordham in the Bronx – rents have soared 0.3 percent over the same period, and a disproportionate proportion of black and Hispanic renters, many in the service industry, have suffered this burden accepted.
"New York has been a story of two cities – not just in terms of the well-known pandemic, but also in terms of affordability to rent," Ms. Wu said, noting the lack of options at the lower end of the market.
On sale, the boroughs outside of Manhattan are expected to recover sooner as they are relatively cheap and proximity to Midtown is no longer a top priority. In August, Brooklyn topped the sales pace seen at the same time last year, and Queens is on a similar but slower path, according to StreetEasy.
Discounts below 10 percent are widespread, but prices haven't come down, except for the ultra-luxury range. Buyers waiting for fire sale prices may be disappointed as the market corrected prices three years before Covid-19, Ms. Wu said.
It is less clear what will happen in the saturated market for new developments. Of the more than 20,000 condos across the city that have hit the market since 2018, nearly 60 percent remain unsold, said Kael Goodman, managing director of Marketproof, a real estate data company. That's $ 33 billion worth of unsold homes, and about 2,000 of those units haven't even started sales.