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Sales Inventory Down, Rents Up All Over NYC as Q1 Ends

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Today is a market report bonanza, friends. Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, sales, rentals, monthly, quarterly?if it's possible to produce a report about it, that report was released at the stroke of midnight. Good thing market trends are all related anyway. We turned to our graph guru, Jonathan Miller (who also prepares Elliman's market reports), for the key details. The quick version: rents in Manhattan and Brooklyn are rising?contrary to expectations. Last fall, market-watchers suspected rent increases would slow as renters became buyers, but low sales inventory has kept a higher-than-predicted number of folks in the rental market, so rents have continued to go up. (Rising NYC employment is a factor, too.) The median rent in Manhattan is now $3,195/month, up 6.7 percent from this time last year. The net effective rent, which includes concessions, is just a bit lower at $3,182/month. The rise in rent, according to the March Elliman report, has been consistent across all apartment sizes, and the vacancy rate is at a two-year low of 1.46 percent. (Citi Habitats has slightly different numbers on this, with lower vacancy rates in the first and fourth quarters of 2012. Battery Park City/FiDi has the highest neighborhood vacancy rate at 1.83 percent, according to the firm's data.)

Brooklyn is seeing a higher pace of growth in both rents and sales prices than Manhattan, a trend JMillz attributes to the growth of Brooklyn as a market in its own right and not just as Manhattan's cheaper sibling. Brooklyn rents rose 11.3 percent year-over-year, to a median of $2,560/month. Rent increases were larger for smaller apartments. The rise in rental activity was actually more modest than it has been recently, an indication that renters aren't seeing a lot of options out there and are choosing to renew their leases rather than move.

Speaking of a tight sales market keeping renters a-renting, Brooklyn saw the lowest inventory levels in five years in the first quarter?inventory fell 45.4 percent. That means prices are rising and bidding wars increasing as sellers compete for the real estate scraps. Brooklyn's median sales price rose 14.4 percent to $515,000. The median sales price for luxury apartments rose 17.5 percent, to $1,527,500. The average sale price, according to Corcoran's Brooklyn market report, also out today, was $665/square foot. In Williamsburg and Greenpoint, says Corcoran, median and average condo prices per square foot hit a record.

Queens shares the general trend of tighter inventory?it hit an eight-year low in the first quarter. But JMillz sees Queens being behind Brooklyn on the recovery timeline, he explains. The number of sales actually increased 9.2 percent due to pent-up demand, and median prices remained stable, increasing by only a moderate 1.1 percent. Continuing on into the second quarter, conditions are likely to remain the same all around NYC, since the most influential factors?low inventory, tight credit, etc.?aren't likely to change. Buyers, renters, armchair market obsessives, what are you seeing out there?
· Market Reports [Elliman]
· Market Reports [Corcoran]
· Market Reports [Citi Habitats]
· Market Report archive [Curbed]