Median Manhattan rents tumble for sixth consecutive month

Brooklyn booms as new rental development flourishes

TRD New York /
Mar.March 13, 2014 12:01 AM

The traditional winter slowdown and a booming Brooklyn market brought down Manhattan rental prices in February, according brokerage reports.

The median rent in Manhattan slipped 2.8 percent to $3,100 per month from $3,190 in February, tumbling year-over-year for the sixth consecutive month, a report from Douglas Elliman said. The number of new rental listings, meanwhile ticked up 3.1 percent year-over-year to a total of 3,192 offerings from 3,097, as tenants increasingly turned to Brooklyn.

“Maybe more people are just moving to Brooklyn, so rents are gradually going down,” Yuval Greenblatt, executive vice president at Douglas Elliman, said. “Some of that demand is also being dictated by the sales market – the final quarter [of 2013] was a blowout quarter, with a historically high sales volume, so that has some level of impact.”

Rental vacancy rates in Manhattan grew to 1.87 percent, up slightly from 1.69 percent during the same period last year, according to Elliman.

Over the past year, the median rental price for studios fell 2.3 percent to $2,300 from $2,353 per month, according to Elliman’s report, and slipped 2.7 percent for one-bedrooms, to $3,108 from $3,195.

Two-bedrooms, however, saw a 1.2 percent year-over-year rise to $4,656 from $4,600 in February 2012, while the median rental price for three-bedrooms jumped 5.5 percent to $6,850 from $6,495 one year prior.

Some neighborhoods are doing better than others. Andrew Barrocas, CEO of MNS, said parts of the rental market continue to gather steam as the job market improves and little new rental stock is being created in the borough.

February rents rose 3.5 percent year-over-year on the Upper West Side, for example – the largest relative gain in Manhattan, a MNS report released today found.

Across the river in Brooklyn, rental prices are on the rise as tenants increasingly look to the borough as a primary destination, Barrocas said.

Brooklyn’s median rent jumped 11.6 percent year-over-year to $2,890 from $2,590 per month, the Elliman data show. Renters also continued to gobble up listings at a feverish pace, with rentals sitting on the market for 42 days on average – down from 43 days in February 2013. The average rent per square foot was $38.12, a 3 percent hike from $37 per square foot last year.

“This whole thing with Brooklyn is sort of a fascinating,” Greenblatt said. “Brooklyn was once an optional thing, and now becoming first. And supply is changing – it used to be pretty low quality but now there are more Manhattan-types with amenities, more interesting layouts and quality finishes.”

Brooklyn Heights and Williamsburg saw some of the borough’s heftiest rental rate growth, with two-bedrooms in Brooklyn Heights up 5.3 percent to $4,715 in February. The previous month, that figure was $4,478. In Williamsburg, rental rates jumped 4 percent to $3,359 from $3,231 – a trend Barrocas said should continue as new projects come online in the popular area.

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