Prices, incentives help move rentals, Citi Habitats says

By Amy Tennery | August 08, 2009 01:48PM

Citi Habitats says it has seen an increase in Manhattan rental transactions this year despite a market that has been epically lethargic for some firms.

The number of rental deals rose year-over-year in second-quarter 2009 and in the first half of 2009, according to a Citi Habitats report released this week. The report does not cite rental transaction figures, but it does examine vacancy rate changes.

The vacancy rate across the borough dropped to 1.88 percent from 2.36 percent between the first and second quarters of the year.

“It is very clear that prices and incentives have played a larger role in the rental marketplace during the first half of 2009 than in the first half of 2008,” the report says.

Citi Habitats President Gary Malin said that a down market can encourage people to move because of a drop in rental prices.

“People are moving to get better deals,” Malin said. But, “just because there’s a lot of demand and a lot of interest doesn’t mean landlords can just jack up prices.”

In the first six months of the year, the average rent for a studio and one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments was $3,072, compared to about $3,307 at the same time last year, Citi Habitats determined, a 7.1 percent drop.

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