Manhattan Apartment Rentals Hollowing Out Following COVID, Riots

‘The supply of available rental units continues to accumulate…’

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The Manhattan skyline (Wikimedia Commons)

(Michael Barnes, Liberty Headlines) It’s often said that people vote with their feet. And true to form, New York City’s real estate market is showing signs of a mass exodus in the wake of the poorly handled Wuhan virus crisis and Black Lives Matter-related riots.

According to the consulting firm MillerSamuel Inc., new rental leases in Manhattan fell by 62 percent last month, marking the worst May in 10 years.

May also saw the largest year-over-year increase in new listings in nearly four years, with the number of apartments listed for rent in Manhattan jumping 34 percent, to 7,420.

All told, there were more empty apartments in Manhattan last month than at any time since MillerSamuel began collecting market data in 2006.

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“The supply of available rental units continues to accumulate,” real estate service provider UrbanDigs warned in a separate report, indicating that June may be worse.

In a borough with 1.63 million pre-COVID residents, only 377 new leases were signed in Manhattan in the first week of June, a decrease of 67 percent from June 2019.

In many ways, the city’s leadership is responsible for the dramatic downturn.

New York City became the epicenter for the Wuhan virus in the United States after city officials encouraged residents to attend mass Chinese Lunar New Year gatherings in February after hundreds of people had already died.

New York City’s health commissioner, Dr. Oxiris Barbot, said it was important to attend the events to combat racism.

“While it is understandable that people feel anxious, that is no way shape or form [sic] an excuse for them to use that as an opportunity to spread misinformation, to spread racist ideas because that is currently the greatest risk to New Yorkers,” said Barbot on Feb. 9.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio implemented harsh social distancing policies once the spread of the virus was out of control. He also selectively enforced them, notably against churches and Jewish worshippers.

De Blasio openly shifted his social distancing position when it came to mass demonstrations and rioting over the past two weeks. He’s even backed rioters and looters over police, according to the NYPD.

Cautious residents appear to be taking notice and leaving for greener pastures.