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The Renter Gravy Train is No Longer Stopping in Manhattan

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The Manhattan sales market may have taken two steps back in the first quarter, but the rental market took a step forward?if you're a landlord. Prudential Douglas Elliman and Citi Habitats released their first quarter reports today, so here are the key stats. According to the Elliman report, median face rents fell by 9.6 percent from a year ago, for a median rental price of $2,895. But that number looks misleadingly favorable for tenants, because it doesn't factor in the disappearance of concessions. These days, landlords are offering an average of only one month's free rent, compared to two and a half months last year, which means the net effective rent paid by tenants has gone up 3.9 percent. Fresh rental listing inventory is down 25.6 percent, and apartments are lingering on the market for an average of 40 days, compared to 86 last year.
The Citi Habitats report places the vacancy rate for March at 0.99 percent, the lowest since July of last year. Citi Habitats, like Elliman, sees rents and concessions turning landlords' way again. In the first quarter of 2010, 44 percent of Citi Habitats-brokered rentals included concessions; this time, only 17 percent did. Unfortunately for renters, this time machine to the boom only goes one way.

Elliman's breakdown of prices by apartment size:

· Market Reports [Elliman]
· Market Reports [Citi Habitats]
· Rental Market reports [Curbed]