NEW YORK - Manhattan’s median rents got pounded by the coronavirus, plummeting more than 10 percent in July compared with the same month last year. It’s the biggest drop in nine years.

July marked the first full month of real estate activity since the pandemic pause, and for the first time in a while renters could cut deals in the notoriously pricey borough. 

“We saved several hundred dollars from what the apartment would have gone for in non-COVID times,” said renter Danielle Gill. “And that means that you can see our nursery behind us, our one bed in the east village with our 4-month-old son can become a two-bed on the Upper West Side.” 

“Theres so much inventory right now that maybe last year whereas the landlords had the upper hand, now the renters do because they can shop around,” said broker Jared Goldman of Compass

The data gathered by real estate giant Douglas Elliman and Miller Samuel Inc. and released Thursday shows the median rental price in Queens fell even more. In that borough, renters paid almost 15 percent less in July compared to the same time last year, in part because of a continued lack of new leases signed in Queens.

In Brooklyn, median rent fell annually for the first time in almost two years, but the drop was minuscule, less than 1 percent.  

The author of the study explained the reason Brooklyn and Manhattan look so different is that the percentage of the population that fled for the suburbs during the pandemic is far larger in Manhattan than in Brooklyn. 

“It’s not showing the same level of weakness that we’re seeing in Manhattan and this is the same story in the purchase market,” said Jonathan Miller of Miller Samuel Inc.  “Contract activity in Brooklyn is up about 30 percent; Manhattan’s down about 57 percent so when we look at the rental market we’re also seeing the same pattern, more strength in the outer boroughs.  he weakness in the rental market is more focussed or concentrated in the borough of Manhattan.”

Miller says he doesn’t see any sign yet of rental prices city-wide stabilizing in August, and he believes that market recovery hinges on a vaccine for the coronavirus, which means building owners should continue to tighten their belts while renters can look forward to some more savings.