Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa was quoted in a recent NY Post article stating how he saw four moving trucks on the Upper West Side this Saturday. The author’s title connects this sighting to the “exodus of Manhattan’s troubled Upper West Side.” The individuals Sliwa spoke with told him they were moving out of state.
“The mass evacuation of Upper West Siders from NYC is in full effect,” Sliwa told the Post. The Guardian Angels founder attributes this trend to the city’s decision to house homeless people in temporary hotel-shelters. Sliwa also anecdotally stated that nine out of the twelve apartments in his building are vacant.
While four trucks is not a huge sample study, New York City’s vacancy rate has been very high in recent months. But it’s worth noting that the end of August has always been a busy time for people moving in and out of apartments. And the pandemic has widely been cited as the most common factor driving people out.
The high vacancy trend was also apparent in May and June, while COVID-19 was in full force and well before the influx of new homeless residents arrived at the Lucerne on July 27. This arrival sparked an increased divide between Upper West Siders and their positions on where these homeless individuals should be placed.
However, Hotel Belleclaire’s new homeless residents first arrived on May 3rd, and the Belnord Hotel’s new residents arrived in late May. So one could argue these relocations have had some impact on the Upper West Side’s contribution to NYC’s high vacancy rate. But this only appears to be an argument at this time.
According to a market report by Douglas Elliman, over 10,000 Manhattan rentals were listed in June, a year over year increase of 85%.
The report also attributes the trend to shelter-in-place restrictions and real estate brokerage industry regulations, further adding that “July was the third straight month to see a record vacancy in fourteen years of recording.”
NYC’s vacancy rate hit a record high of 3.67% in July.