New York renters would be the first to tell you that rents go in only one direction: up. But after a long and relentless climb to historic highs, the momentum has stalled. With renters unwilling, or unable, to pay ever higher sums, rents have largely flatlined. And it seems we have come to the year of the renter’s market. In Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens, inventories and vacancies are up, and landlords are offering new tenants discounts, like several months of free rent and no broker’s fee. In the Bronx and Staten Island, rents are holding steady because those boroughs did not experience the same rapid rent escalations or volume of new development. But that could change when new rental buildings open in both boroughs this year and in 2018. The biggest deals are happening at the top of the market, where some luxury developments are offering as much as four months of free rent on a two-year lease. But deals are to be had in older, less expensive buildings, too. Despite these concessions, some apartments linger vacant for months. Worried that a slowdown will continue, many landlords are not raising the rent when leases come up for renewal, and some are even throwing in perks like gift cards.
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