Queens renters see discounts during pandemic: Report

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Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, it may be a good time to be a renter in Queens, a new report suggests.

While rents in the borough continued to climb in the second quarter of 2020, the rate at which they did was the slowest in two years, according to a new report from StreetEasy. Overall, renters appeared to be hunting for a deal in the outer-boroughs during the pandemic, including Queens, and landlords appeared to be cutting their prices, hoping to score a renter in a shrunken market.

“Commuting to the office and living in the center of the city were simply not on the list of priorities for renters during this past quarter, and landlords reacted by slashing rents and trying new tactics in order to attract tenants,” said Nancy Wu, an economist with StreetEasy. “Landlords are in for a much slower than normal summer rentals season, even as the city slowly begins to reopen. Remote work has given many renters the option to live anywhere they please, making it too soon to predict when rents will rebound.”

According to the report, more than one in five rental units in Queens were listed at a discounted rate — an increase of nearly 5 percentage points when compared to last year.

Corona, Far Rockaway and East Elmhurst all saw major drops median asking rent when compared to 2019, according to the report. All three neighborhoods were hit particularly hard by the novel coronavirus in the early months of the pandemic.

Of the 27 New York City neighborhoods with a median asking rent below $2,000 in the second quarter of 2020, nearly 20 were in Queens.

And renters seem to take notice of the low prices. StreetEasy reports that searches for rentals in Queens were up by 24 percent during the second quarter of this year.

In Brooklyn searches were up by 26 percent and searches in Manhattan were up by 15 percent, according to the report.

Read the full report here.

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