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Manhattan Rents Hit Record High as Busy Season Begins

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If the mood among Manhattan renters is grim today, it's because Manhattan rents hit a record high yet again in May, according to the Citi Habitats report released at midnight. The average Manhattan apartment rent is now $3,438/month, up by $9 from the previous record, set in April. Maybe time to start saving those 2008-2011 leases for nostalgic reasons, folks. About 6 percent of the leases Citi Habitats brokered during the month included concessions?a free month's rent or the payment of the broker's fee?a sign not just of the stronger rental market but also of the fact that we're entering the busiest season for rentals. The vacancy rate dipped to 0.89 percent, the first time it's fallen below 1 percent so far this year. But hey, it's still lower than May 2011, when it stood at 0.69 percent!
And that bit of it-could-be-worse is one of the few pieces of decent intel out there for renters. The MNS monthly rental report, also out today, shows similarly rising rents?rents for doorman two-bedrooms on the Lower East Side, for example, spiked 40 percent. MNS does have a few tips for bargain-hunting renters, though: check out studios in Soho and non-doorman 1BRs in FiDi. Prices also dropped for non-doomran 1BRs in Harlem and Midtown East. Folks seeking non-doorman 2BRs should try Murray Hill.

Here's MNS's graphical breakdown of the rental market numbers:

· Market Reports [Citi Habitats]
· Manhattan Rental Market Report [MNS]
· Rental Market Reports coverage [Curbed]