Brooklyn continues to outshine Manhattan in rents

But Manhattan rental market steady in Q2
By Guelda Voien | July 11, 2013 12:01AM

Rents in the County of Kings are matching the heat outside, as June apartment rents rose to what is likely the highest ever, while rents in Manhattan stayed firm, reports released today by leading residential brokerages show.

Having shrugged off a statistically abnormal May, Brooklyn’s median rent last month was $2,737 per month, up 13.5 percent from $2,412 in June 2012, according to Douglas Elliman’s monthly rental report. Median rent in Manhattan was $3,195 per month, up just 1.9 percent from $3,135 in June of last year.

“Last month we saw a drop in year-over-year median rent and [we were thinking] ‘is the market going to fall’?” Jonathan Miller, CEO of appraisal firm Miller Samuel and author of the report, told The Real Deal. “And essentially this month just picked up where it left off.”

In Brooklyn, the median monthly cost for a studio was $1,894, while a one-bedroom commanded $2,420, according to the June rental report from MNS. Three-bedrooms went for a median of $3,251 per month, the MNS report said. The highest-priced ’hoods for studios and one-bedrooms were Williamsburg and Dumbo, where the median rent sat at $2,900 and $2,710 per month, respectively, for studios and $3,619 and $3,165 per month, respectively, for one-bedrooms. For two bedrooms, Dumbo and Brooklyn Heights took the top spot, with median rents of $5,794 and $4,565 per month.

At the same time, the median rent for a studio in Prospect Lefferts was a mere $1,095 per month, according to MNS.

Increases in Manhattan were more subdued, with a slight rise in median prices offset by minor slips in two other key indicators: average price and price per square foot. The average rent was $3,870 per month, down 0.8 percent from the $3,902 seen in the same period last year, while price per square foot was down 2.2 percent to $50.70, compared with $51.86 in June of last year, Elliman’s report shows.

The Manhattan market is “trending a little better than flat, but this month it was stable,” Miller said. “Vacancy is still very low and will remain low.”

The vacancy rate in June ticked up just slightly, to 1.1 percent from 1.09 in May of 2013, according to Citi Habitats’ research.

“I think we’ve reached equilibrium,” said Gary Malin, president of Citi Habitats. “Tenants realize that things could be better but they could also be worse. I think tenants should feel somewhat relieved.”

Moving into summer, the rental market belongs to landlords, even more so in Brooklyn than in its traditionally high-priced neighbor across the river, industry figures said.

“It’s just tight,” Miller concluded.