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Renters flee the city: 13,000 empty apartments

We've all seen the moving trucks, the mattresses at the curb, and felt that our neighbors had left home for a while (if not for good). Miller Samuel/Douglas Elliman is reporting the numbers, and says there are more than 13,000 empty rental apartments in New York. That's a 121% increase on the vacancies this time last year. Here on the West Side, that vacancy rate increased by 296%.

Photo: Sophie Patel

Add to that The Economist, which reports that foreign students will not be taking up their places at the city's prestige universities at the end of this month, and there will be a lot of dark apartments in September.


Rentals in the city are in free fall, showing the biggest drop on record. New leases slumped 23%, and although the move-in incentives have increased on average to 1.7 months rent-free, we're hearing it can be as much as four months on a two-year deal.

Moving companies are seeing a real uptick in business too, with 90% of moves being to the suburbs, driven by families worried about the school year.


But it's not just families, Noah Simon left his one-bedroom apartment in Hell’s Kitchen as soon as the city went on lockdown, and moved to stay with his mom in Hastings-on-Hudson. He gave up the city for good in May to buy a place in Westchester. He told the New York Post: “To me, it was kind of a no-brainer. I love the city. I also recognize that living there right now doesn’t have a whole lot to offer me.”


What's your New York leaving story? Or have you just arrived? Email phil@w42st.com and we will update this story.

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