The Real Deal New York

Manhattan vacancy rate climbs, but so do rents

August 09, 2012 12:01AM

Manhattan apartment seekers had more rental units to choose from in July, a new report says. The vacancy rate for rentals in the borough reached 1.20 percent in July, an increase compared to the previous July, when the rate was 0.86 percent, according to a monthly report released today by Citi Habitats.

This is the second consecutive month the firm saw an increase in rental inventory, and represents the highest level of available apartments since this past March, when the vacancy rate was 1.25 percent. In June, it was 1.01 percent, the report says.

Gary Malin, president of Citi Habitats, suggested the increase may be the result of New Yorkers entering the sales market or price-sensitive newcomers postponing their moves to the city. “Many college students, who in the past may have opted to move to Manhattan early to spend summer in the city, are now finding that prospect cost-prohibitive,” Malin said in a statement. “While still relatively low, this uptick in vacancy during the peak summer season may be a sign that rents have approached their tipping point.”

July rents broke records for the third time this year, according to the report, which tracks the firm’s closed transactions. The average rent for a Manhattan apartment was $3,459 – about 3 percent higher than July 2011 and about 0.5 percent higher than in June, when the average rent was $3,443 per month.

“Landlords are smart, savvy people who aren’t afraid to push the limits in terms of rents if demand allows,” Malin said.

The highest vacancy rate was in the East Village and Lower East Side (1.65 percent) and the lowest was in Gramercy (0.8 percent).  — Leigh Kamping-Carder