Don’t call it a comeback.
Manhattan has more than recovered since its population dipped in the early days of COVID-19, according to a new study on post-pandemic migration from Placer.ai.
From February to April 2020, the borough’s population dropped 8.1% — threatening its status as a major world economic and cultural hub.
But as New Yorkers learn time and time again, one should never underestimate the Big Apple. With its social scenes and job prospects back in full swing, Manhattan now has more residents than it did pre-pandemic, with a nearly 4% population hike from January 2018 to October 2022.
Newcomers drove rents higher, too. Manhattan’s median reached $4,200 in November, up 24% from 2021, according to Corcoran tallies. Sales prices cooled 8% from the third to fourth quarters, with the median falling slightly to $1.1 million, the brokerage also reported.
Authors of the report say the speedy recovery is a testament to the city’s resilience in times of crisis.
“The recovery of retail and office in New York City is an affirmation of the unique environment that can only be found there,” said Ethan Chernofsky, vice president of marketing at Placer.ai. “While there are areas that have been harder hit, it is difficult to imagine a scenario where these don’t see an equally powerful recovery over time.”
Indeed, the boroughs are still a little sleepy. Brooklyn has pockets of revival, but they’re yet to experience Manhattan’s influx overall. Between January 2018 and October 2022, populations dropped 4.5% in The Bronx, 4.6% in Brooklyn, 5.8% in Queens and a higher 7.1% in Staten Island, the report found.
So what Manhattan neighborhoods are the hottest in our new, post-pandemic normal? At the top of the list is the Upper West Side, which saw a 30% increase in residents between November 2019 and October 2022. Next up are the East Village/Gramercy and the area around City Hall, all hovering around 25% during that same span of time.
Over in Brooklyn, while most of the southern half of the borough is still seeing decline, Coney Island’s population is up 6% over that nearly three-year period.
Not surprisingly, prime Downtown Brooklyn and Williamsburg follow closely behind at about 5% and 3%, respectively. Spots like Prospect Heights, Bed-Stuy, and Greenpoint, not quite as trendy but still a quick ride from Manhattan, are growing at a pace of around 2%.
Ex-Brit turned Manhattan resident since 2008.