When the coronavirus outbreak first hit U.S. soil, New York City quickly emerged as its initial epicenter. That, combined with the fact that workers were shooed away from office buildings and told to do their jobs remotely, drove a lot of people out of the city and into the suburbs, where they could spread out and enjoy more space.
As such, it's been a tough go for the city's residential real estate investors, and landlords have been grappling with higher vacancy rates for over a year now. In April, the vacancy rate in Manhattan climbed to 11.6%, up from 2.42% just one year prior. And while more people are now seeking to move back to the city, what with pandemic-related restrictions having been lifted, landlords are still finding themselves in a position where they need to make concessions, like free or reduced rent, to draw tenants in.
Still, there may be other strategies New York City landlords can employ to attract tenants and encourage leasing activity. Here are a few worth looking into.
1. Local restaurant gift cards
Early on in the pandemic, New York City restaurants were forced to shutter for in-person dining as the pandemic dealt the city a devastating blow. Once dining establishments were allowed to reopen, they were forced to do so with restrictions. Now, however, New York City is completely reopened, and restaurants can operate at full capacity. Landlords can capitalize on this by offering up packets of local restaurant gift cards to not only draw in more tenants but introduce them to the neighborhood.
2. Rideshare gift cards
Though New York City may be operating at full speed, some people may not yet feel comfortable riding the subway, what with its crowded nature. Landlords can use this sentiment to their advantage by offering rideshare gift cards as another move-in perk.
3. Broadway tickets
After closing down for well over a year, come September, the lights will be back on Broadway, and tickets may initially be tricky to come by as theater enthusiasts flock to reopened shows. A great way to entice tenants to sign leases is to offer up free Broadway tickets as part of the deal. Landlords who really want to go the extra mile can offer the whole shebang: a pair of show tickets, a restaurant gift card in the theater district, and a rideshare gift card to get back and forth.
4. Sporting event tickets
New York City is known for its sports teams. Landlords should consider offering family packs to baseball games, which may better align with some tenants' comfort level than events that take place inside an enclosed arena, like hockey and basketball.
The Millionacres bottom line
Though the idea of living in New York City is far more appealing now than it was just months ago, when restrictions were very much in place, landlords still have their fair share of vacancies to fill. Those who are able to get creative may have a much easier time attracting tenants -- and increasing their revenue.