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Brooklyn rents plunge 5 percent while Manhattan rents rise again

Manhattan is winning the battle of the boroughs when it comes to real estate.

Rents rose again in Manhattan — and plunged in Brooklyn — last month as apartment dwellers scrambled to find suitable pads.

The average Manhattan rent rose 1.5 percent, to $3,973, in December 2012 when compared with November 2012, a new Douglas Elliman report found.

Rents in Brooklyn fell 5 percent, to $2,880, the figures show.

And, thanks to soaring rents for lofts, bigger apartments and those in the super-luxury category, the average Manhattan rent was up 10 percent in December 2012 compared with December 2011.

And it’s harder to find an apartment in Manhattan.

That borough’s vacancy rate fell from slightly more than 2 percent in December 2011 to 1.77 percent last month.

“Brooklyn is not Manhattan,” Douglas Elliman CEO Dottie Herman said of the competition between the boroughs.

“Brooklyn doesn’t keep the same pace as Manhattan,” agreed Mark Menendez, executive vice president in charge of Manhattan rents at Douglas Elliman.

Brooklyn is “more vulnerable to a slowdown because of a supply and demand,” he said. “Manhattan has more supply and demand than Brooklyn.”

Among the study’s Manhattan findings compared with last year:

  • The East Side (East 42nd Street to East 96th Street) saw the biggest rent hikes of the neighborhoods — up 19.1 percent, to an average of $4,060.

  • Loft rents shot up 67.6 percent, to an average of $9,316.

  • Apartments with three or more bedrooms leaped 31.1 percent, to $10,289.

  • In contrast, the average one-bedroom rent has fallen 3.7 percent, to $3,184, since December 2011. Studios have gone up a modest 2.7 percent for the year, to $2,453.

  • Average rents for doorman buildings dipped in December but were up 12 percent over the past year, to $4,558. Non-doorman buildings were also up, 10.5 percent, but only to $3,243.

  • And super-luxury apartments — which were a relative bargain at $10,607 a year ago — now go for $14,811, up 39.6 percent.

All in all, 2012 was a good year to be a landlord.

“Overall, the city’s rental market remains in the landlords’ favor during 2012,” said Citi Habitats President Gary Malin.

The forecast for the future? Rents will rise but at a slower rate — because apartment dwellers are looking to buy.

“Rents remain high, but low mortgage rates are pulling more and more tenants into the purchase market, slowing the growth in rents,” said analyst Jonathan Miller, who prepared the Douglas Elliman report.

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