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Manhattan rents: Nothing like them on earth

Manhattan rents have hit historic highs – again.

Data from leading city brokerages shows that the Manhattan rental market continues to lead renters deeper and deeper into landlord territory.

The average Manhattan apartment rented for $3,778 in Q2, up from $3,650 in Q1, according to data from the Q2 Elliman Report from Prudential Douglas Elliman Real Estate. Median prices increased from $2,896 to $3,125.

West Side rents averaged $4,079; Downtown, $4,044; East Side, $3,627; and Uptown, $2,011. Any way you shake it, these are the highest rents seen in two years, the report states.

Renters can expect to pay $246 more for a three-bedroom; $173 more for a two-bedroom; and $132 more for a one-bedroom than they would have last year, a separate report from Citi Habitats shows.

“As the year rolled on, it continued to be a frustrating time to be a Manhattan renter,” said Gary Malin, president at Citi Habitats. “Rents continued to accelerate to new historic highs on a year-over-year basis, and the Manhattan market continued to experience minimal vacancies.”

The highest vacancies, at 1.42 percent, can be found on the Upper West Side; while the lowest, at .62 percent, are in SoHo/Tribeca, according to Citi Habitats.

In what Malin called “one bright spot for apartment seekers,” average vacancy rates did inch upward in Q2, from .72 percent last year to .97 percent, suggesting that perhaps more New Yorkers are beginning to make a move towards home ownership.

“Tight credit conditions, rising rents and improving regional economy are pushing more tenants into purchase markets,” said Jonathan Miller, CEO of Miller Samuel, Inc., who compiled the Elliman Report data.

The vacancy rate increases helped bump inventory up 27 percent in Q2, from 4,427 units last year to 5,660; units also stayed on the market 38 days, compared with 33 days last year, the Elliman Report shows.

It seems it will take greater gains on the renter’s front for landlords to give up ground. Concessions from landlords – typically given in the form of one month’s rent or payment of a broker’s fee – are still few and far between.

Citi Habitats reported that just seven percent of the firm’s transactions included a landlord concession in Q2. That dropped even further, to six percent, in June. The Elliman Report put the number at a mere 3.7 percent for Q2.

But the cutthroat nature of the rental market is unlikely to push new renters away.

“New York is like no other place on earth,” Malin said. “The lifestyle available here is a big reason why the rental market is, and will remain, competitive.”

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