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Manhattan and Brooklyn Rents Continue to Rise; Queens Dips

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Manhattan rents are up year-over-year for the ninth consecutive month, with the median rent up 4.4 percent to $3,235, which should come as a surprise to no one. Along the same lines, the use of concessions by landlords fell, as did the average number of days that a unit spent on the market and negotiability (i.e. discounts), per the Elliman report (PDF), because trying to rent in Manhattan remains a virtual nightmare. Things are not much different in Brooklyn, where, following a two-month decline in year-over-year rents, rents are now up for the second straight month to $2,948 (a 3.1 percent year-over-year-increase). Landlord concessions remain low and a surge of new rentals in the borough indicates that many tenants are getting priced out when it comes time for lease renewals.

In Queens, the numbers are murkier, skewed by a flood of new product, but the numbers show that the median rental price actually dropped 8.2 percent to $2,525. The salient point in all three markets, according to appraisal guru/Elliman report compiler Jonathan Miller, is that rents for entry apartments (studios and one-bedrooms) are rising faster than the balance of the market thanks to rising employment and tight credit. The latter, Miller says, "is keeping first time buyers stuck in rental market, creating a log jam, so to speak."

On a month-by-month basis, the Citi Habitats report shows that "[i]n November, Manhattan rents fell slightly across all apartment categories, the vacancy rate continued to climb," which is not unusual in the colder months. "The recent rent declines and climbing vacancy rate are to be expected this time of year," commented Gary Malin, President of Citi Habitats. "No one is moving during the holiday season unless they have to." Where individual neighborhoods are concerned, the most expensive Manhattan area remains Tribeca/Soho, while the cheapest is Washington Heights. No surprise there.

One somewhat surprising trend, identified in the MNS report (PDF), is that Williamsburg rents have declined 7.8 percent compared to November 2013. The huge increase in inventory (up 66.93 percent since last month) likely played a part.

And in condo and co-op news, Streeteasy reports that Manhattan inventory remains tight for buyers, with co-op inventory decreasing the most and falling below condo inventory supply for the first time in four years. Streeteasy Data Scientist Alan Lightfeldt writes, "Buyers are becoming much more wary of price, a stark contrast from the buying frenzy we saw in the first two quarters of this year. Price growth may slow in the coming months if sellers are the first to blink and lower their listing prices as homes stay on the market for longer."
· The Elliman Report [official]
· Citi Habitats reports [official]
· MNS Manhattan Market Report [PDF]
· MNS Brooklyn Market Report [PDF]
· MNS Queens Market Report [PDF]
· Streeteasy Report [official]
· Previous Market Reports [Curbed]