Manhattan rental market showing signs of stability, report shows

By Amy Tennery | November 30, 2009 11:50AM

While year-over-year rental prices have continued to lag, figures month-over-month have remained relatively stable, according to the November monthly Manhattan rental market report released today by TDG/The Real Estate Group of NY (see the full report below).

Rents dropped just .03 percent this November, compared to the month before. This figure is cause for some optimism, according to the report, because a more dramatic seasonal decline is typically seen during the month.

Daniel Baum, CEO of TDG/TREGNY, said that November’s strong showing was unexpected.

“We were actually somewhat surprised to see that November [prices] were [so stable],” Baum said. He attributed the unseasonally strong numbers to a delay in spring Wall Street hirings. Many Manhattan employers have actually begun taking on new hires this fall, according to Baum, which has created an uptick in demand.

Inventory also showed improvement in November compared to October, according to the data, with overall Manhattan rental inventory dropping 5.36 percent and non-doorman inventory down 11.94 percent.

Still, some neighborhoods continued to struggle. Soho prices continue to decline, according to TDG/TREGNY, a trend that Baum attributed to a continued focus on conservative spending among renters.

“There are still a lot of mixed signals in the marketplace,” Baum said.

Despite some economists’ outlook, he said that many consumers are concerned that the financial downturn many continue. Elevated unemployment figures in Manhattan have caused many renters to doubt the economic stability, Baum said. “A lot of people are still wondering how long this [financial downturn] is going to take.”

This translates into fewer high-end buildings — and doorman buildings — garnering renters, Baum said.

Baum said that he doubts the overall Manhattan rental market stability will continue, as seasonality catches up with the industry.

If rental prices drop in December, Baum said, “it wouldn’t surprise me at all.”

Market Report