June Sets Record For Number of NYC Renters Looking to Sublet Their Apartment, Breaking Previous Record Set in May

In May we reported a record spike in new NYC sublet listings in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Based on RentHop’s apartment listing data running through the end of June, we can now confirm that June’s total sublet listings broke the previous record set one month prior in May.

This sudden spike in sublet listings may be considered early evidence the city is witnessing an outflow of residents to the suburbs or other metropolitan areas, likely as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic and increased ability to work from home.

In this report, we’ll analyze the recent uptrend in new sublet listings on RentHop and highlight their outsized distribution in wealthy neighborhoods, particularly those in Manhattan1.


Sublet Listings Break Records, again, in June

As previously reported, the total sublet listings in May 2020 increased a whopping 110% as compared to the total sublet listings of the previous month (April 2020). This was the greatest acceleration in new sublet listings we have ever recorded on RentHop. While May was a record-setting month, June 2020 saw 3% more sublet listings than May 2020, and 114% more sublet listings than the average for the first four months of 2020.

This enormous uptick cannot be explained by seasonality. June 2019 saw a mere 0.3% increase in total sublet listings as compared to the average for the first four months of 2019. Even controlling for seasonality, June 2020 stands as the greatest single month of new sublet listings ever recorded in RentHop’s 11-year history.



Wealthy Neighborhoods Seeing the Largest Spike in Sublet Listings

In June 2020, wealthy neighborhoods, particularly those in Manhattan, saw a steeper upward deviation from their 2020 sublet average than neighborhoods in the outer boroughs.

The major NYC neighborhoods with the most significant spikes in new sublets in June 2020 vs. the average for the first four months of the year were Astoria (600% above average), Yorkville (440%), Williamsburg (419%), West Village (306%), Chelsea (289%), and Battery Park City (240%).


1. As used in this study, “sublet listings” are listings created by apartment renters seeking to find a new tenant to take over the remainder of their apartment lease. In NYC, finding a subletter is widely considered the most effective way to get out from under a lease without paying the steep contractual penalties triggered by an outright lease break.

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