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Rental Market's Upward Swing Continues in First Quarter

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Anyone who's followed the market reports over the past few months won't be surprised by the news in this morning's quarterly data sets: rents are up in Manhattan. Specifically, they're up 9.1 percent from the first quarter of 2011, for a new median net effective rent of $3,064/month, according to the Elliman report. There are two factors for which landlords should be thankful: tight credit that's making mortgages harder to get, heating up the market for rentals, and the gradual overall improvement of the NYC economy. Just over 11 percent of new rental transactions included concessions, and those concessions averaged 1.2 months of free rent.

Rentals in all size categories, and their prices, increased (with the exceptions of three- and four-bedrooms). Average studio prices went up 10 percent; 1BR prices went up 8.7 percent; 2BR prices went up 5.6 percent. Prices on 3BR and 4BR apartments dropped, by 3.1 percent and 2.8 percent year-over-year.

Here's the Elliman breakdown of rents by apartment size:

The Citi Habitats Manhattan rental report for the first quarter is also out today, and it places the average rent at $3,418/month. Citi Habitats also proclaims that rents are at the highest they've been since the firm started collecting data in 2002. We checked in with Curbed graph guru (and Elliman report preparer) Jonathan Miller on that, and his stats show that this quarter's numbers overall are about 5 percent below the peak of 2006's fourth quarter. (And if the numbers are adjusted for inflation, rents are 24.6 percent below the peak.) Even without agreement on the specifics, rents are high and getting higher.

Here's Citi Habitats' take on rents by neighborhood and apartment size:

· Rental Market Report [Elliman]
· Market Reports [Citi Habitats]
· Rental Market Report coverage [Curbed]