The Real Deal New York

Manhattan rental market stays strong as winter closes in

By Katherine Clarke | December 06, 2011 06:13PM

The Manhattan residential rental market has defied seasonal expectations by remaining remarkably stable even as winter approaches, according to a monthly rental market report from Citi Habitats released today. Prices are higher across the board and the vacancy rate is lower than during the past three Novembers, the report shows.

“While we would expect rents to decrease and the vacancy rate to rise from October to November, the city’s rental market truly held its equilibrium,” said Gary Malin, president of Citi Habitats. “People are staying in their current apartments. Rents are up and concessions are way down. If you don’t have to uproot yourself and your family, why would you?”

While rents for smaller-sized apartments decreased very slightly, rents for the larger two- and three-bedroom homes remained virtually unchanged, Malin added.

The average Manhattan apartment rented for $3,315 last month, 6 percent more than November 2010, when the average was $3,126. The average monthly rent for a studio was $1,940, a 4 percent increase from November 2010. The average one-bedroom apartment rented for $2,647, also a 4 percent increase from last year, while the average Manhattan two-bedroom apartment rented for $3,724, a 7 percent increase year-over-year.

The Manhattan vacancy rate during November 2011 was 1.16 percent, down slightly from October’s vacancy rate of 1.18 percent, but considerably lower than November 2010’s rate of 1.29 percent.

Malin speculated that rumored impending Wall Street layoffs may be contributing to steady occupancy in the rental market.
“Uncertainty plays into people’s psyches,” he said. “It’s not just the market, it’s personal circumstances. A lot of people are stalling their searches temporarily [till they know their jobs are safe]. If they can buy themselves some time, that’s what they’re going to do.”

Soho and Tribeca remained the most difficult neighborhoods in which to secure a rental unit in November, with a vacancy rate of 0.44 percent. On the other end, vacancy in Midtown West hovered around 1.6 percent.

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