Report: Manhattan rents show modest growth

By Amy Tennery | January 11, 2011 10:06PM

The average Manhattan rent in the fourth quarter continued to rebound from the trough early last year, according to Citi Habitats’ year-end report released today.

Manhattan renters were paying, on average, $3,127 a month in the fourth quarter, up slightly from the third quarter, when the average rent was around $3,100. Rents are well above the first quarter, when the average was $2,926. The average rent peaked in second-quarter 2008 at $3,421.

Gary Malin, president of Citi Habitats, said that while the residential market still lags, he’s encouraged by recent data. (The report measures rental transactions closed by Citi Habitats.)

“Clearly we have not recovered from the high-end of the marketplace… With the economy as shaky as it is, sometimes it’s like the bright sun and the next day it’s like the snowstorm,” Malin said. “[But] the rental market has done a 180-degree turn from a year ago.”

Among the brighter spots on the report, particularly for landlords, is the decrease in concessions for renters. Last year, 31 percent of rental transactions recorded by Citi Habitats involved a concession (which the brokerage defines as free months rent or waiving the broker fee), down from 52 percent of transactions in 2009.

“The incentives aren’t as plentiful and landlords are just happy,” Malin said.

Meanwhile, the Manhattan vacancy rate dropped to 1.21 percent in fourth-quarter 2010 from 1.79 percent during the same time period a year earlier.

When broken down by neighborhoods, Soho-Tribeca had the priciest rents on one-, two- and three-bedroom units, with average rates of $3,551, $5,345 and $7,964, respectively, during fourth-quarter. Among studio apartments, however, Chelsea came out on top, with an average rent of $2,219.