What the COVID-19 Vaccine Means for NYC’s Real Estate Market (May 2021)

As of the beginning of May 2021, in New York City 48.9% of New Yorkers have received one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, while 37% have been fully vaccinated. This coverts to 7.19 million people fully vaccinated, compared to approximately 106 million nationwide, or 32.3% of America’s total population. Though the vaccinations have slowed down from their initial surge in NYC, their apparent effects on the real estate market were what sellers and renters were hoping for.

The relatively mass availability of vaccinations seemed to provide a sense of stability to the real estate market in NYC; renters and sellers appear to now be able to gauge price and demand more easily. Additionally, according to Realtors, both average prices for rentals and sales in NYC have continued to rise these first five months of 2021, as the COVID-19 vaccinations became more and more available. In almost all prestigious NYC locations, studio apartments are now consistently renting for over $2500 per month and 1-bedroom apartments are averaging close to $3500 per month. These are more like the numbers we witnessed prior to the COVID-19 pandemics and prior to the moratoriums issued by the State of New York and City of Manhattan, which undoubtedly temporarily created downward pricing in the NYC real estate rental market.

Other housing statistics from Realtors offer the same conclusion: the stability of real estate prices in NYC have certainly increased by an upward trajectory. Steven James, President and CEO of Douglas Elliman, said there will be an immediate increase in activity once the vaccine is approved. He hinted that the best “opportunity is now” for prospective real estate investors because prices will only continue to increase proportionate to the amount of New Yorkers and Americans who get fully vaccinated. George Ratiu, a senior economist at Realtors, echoed Steven’s point by predicting “a gradual shift over the next six to eight months” in rising real estate prices in NYC.