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The New York City real estate market is returning to its prepandemic normal, but anyone looking for a rental apartment should prepare for a possible post-pandemic surprise. Bidding wars — long the scourge of prospective home buyers — are now being waged for rentals, especially in the hippest neighborhoods that are within walking distance of newly reopening office buildings.

“What we’re now seeing is that certain neighborhoods — particularly those below 34th street on the West Side — are now coveted and in demand for rentals,” says Hal Gavzie, executive director of leasing at Douglas Elliman. “We’ve seen rental bidding wars, with multiple applications and inquiries leading to bids that are $100 to $750 above listing price,” he added.