NYC apartment vacancies shrink in third quarter as vacancies nationwide hit highest percentage since 1986

October 06, 2009 08:27AM

New Haven, Conn., now has the lowest apartment vacancy rate in the U.S., at 2.5 percent, replacing New York City, where the rate is 2.9 percent. Still, New York’s rate is down 6.8 percent from a year ago, bucking a national trend. Apartment vacancies in the U.S. hit 7.8 percent in the third quarter, the highest rate in 23 years, according to commercial real estate research firm Reis. The rise may be attributed to the climbing national unemployment rate, which the Department of Labor said last week had increased to 9.8 percent in August. With fewer jobs available, rental demand decreased. Asking rents declined 1.8 percent from a year earlier, and actual rent paid by tenants shrank 2.7 percent over the same period. “With New York being relatively more dependent on the still-embattled financial services sector, it may take a few more quarters before we see rents bottoming out” there, said Victor Calanog, director of research at Reis. “We are on track for 2009 to register as the worst year in rent drops on record, far exceeding the historic 3.8 percent decline recorded in 2002.”