Northwest Queens sees record increase in new leases as cost of rent rises to pre-COVID levels

Closeup of red, white for rent sign attached, hanging on wooden apartment, house, home, building door with glass windows
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Northwest Queens saw more new leases signed in July 2021 in more than a decade — but median rent rose annually for the first time since the peak of COVID-19 — according to a new report.

The number of new leases in July 2021 surged more than 150 percent from the same period in 2020, according to a report by Douglas Elliman real estate agency. The agency included the northwest Queens neighborhoods of Long Island City, Astoria, Sunnyside and Woodside.

However, lease signings fell by more than 16 percent from June to July. The amount of landlord concessions also fell by nearly a third since peaking in January, according to the Douglas Elliman report, which also noted that the market’s intensity is easing, even though there is a high transaction volume that is slightly making up for the market’s recent lull.

Listing inventory in northwest Queens has dropped by nearly 49 percent from its January peak, and was down by 0.7 percent from June (2,567) to July (2,548).

The report noted that lower demand diminished the market’s ability to absorb listing inventory.

As a result, net effective median rent rose by nearly 9 percent from June ($2,507) to July ($2,680). Median rent rose by nearly 11 percent from July 2020 ($2,424) to July 2021 — the first annual gain since April 2020.

Compared to the same period two years ago, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the net effective median rent is down by 5.5 percent.

Queens trends were similar to those of Manhattan and Brooklyn — as there were more new leases signed compared to any other July in more than a decade, rental price trends are moving back to pre-COVID pandemic levels.