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As we had forecast in March, there would be a great exodus of people leaving densely populated, expensive cites to “escape the virus” and rising crime rates.
Around the world and across the nations, that trend has become reality.
At one point last month, 13,117 apartments were listed for rent in Manhattan, more than double the number a year earlier and setting a record for the 14 years since the data began to be tracked.
The island’s Upper East Side saw the greatest number of vacancies, with a 39-percent decline in new leases.
The number of new leases signed in July dropped 23 percent year-on-year, with landlords offering an average of 1.7 months’ free rent, free cleaning services, and gift cards for Home Depot and other retailers to lure prospective tenants.
Median rent for a two-bedroom apartment is now $4,620.
Apartments fell vacant as office workers were freed to relocate to their homes, enabling many to seek cheaper housing outside of the city. Leases also were broken by many of the estimated 500,000 New Yorkers who lost their jobs during the economic shutdown and small business owners were forced to close up shop.
PUBLISHER’S NOTE: Home prices are rising in the Hudson Valley north of New York City faster than anywhere else in the U.S. as urbanites permanently flee the City for the exurbs that give them “social distance” but keep them close to the Big Apple.
Here in Kingston, New York, about 100 miles north of the city, homes sales are up 18 percent compared to the same time last year.
TRENDPOST: About half of Manhattan’s apartments are owned by individuals or small businesses rather than large real estate management companies. These small-scale owners usually lack the savings to continue to pay for mortgages, property insurance, and maintenance without cash flow from tenants’ rents.
The loss of tenants is likely to have a cascading effect, creating a downward spiral: as the City’s property tax revenue falls, it will be forced to cut services, street maintenance, and other basic expenses, leaving NYC a less desirable place to live and hobbling landlords’ ability to raise rents.

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