Rental concessions—things like a month or two of free rent tacked on to a new lease, or the landlord paying for certain amenities—are no longer a thing you have to work to negotiate; they’ve become a fact of finding an apartment in New York.
But even though they’ve become much more prevalent, new data from StreetEasy shows that buildings offering concessions tend to be new developments that are concentrated in a few key neighborhoods—and if you’ve been paying attention to where rentals are rising, those areas won’t come as a surprise.
Downtown Brooklyn, which has added thousands of new apartments in recent years, has the highest share of units offering some form of concession, at a whopping 63 percent. According to StreetEasy, buildings that went up in 2016 or the years after are “almost six times more likely to offer concessions than discounts,” and that makes up a lot of inventory in Downtown Brooklyn these days—see the City Point megaproject, or new buildings like Hoyt & Horn or 300 Ashland.
The other biggie in the city for concessions is Long Island City, where nearly 50 percent of all new apartments come with some form of incentive. And again, considering the proliferation of new high-rise rentals, this isn’t a surprise. Rounding out the top five are Gowanus, the Financial District, and Midtown West.
StreetEasy also looked at where rental discounts are prevalent, and found that they’re more often found in older buildings—neighborhoods that have the most discounted apartments include Jackson Heights, Rego Park, Williamsburg, Tribeca, and Chelsea.
Unlike concessions, these price cuts are intended to move a specific unit, rather than market a whole building; but like concessions, they offer some savings for tenants. “Renters are less likely to find discounts in new buildings, and will save roughly the same with them regardless of the year the building was built,” StreetEasy says. “Concessions will save renters more on their monthly rent in new buildings than in older ones.”
But just remember: Even if you sign a lease with a month or two of free rent, that discount may eventually run out once you have to re-up your lease—so proceed with caution.