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Rents Rise Across New York City, But Brooklyn's Set a Record

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The biggest news out of the crop of monthly rental market reports for April 2015 is that Brooklyn's median rental price jumped 5.6 percent from the prior year set a record at $2,961, according to Jonathan Miller, preparer of the Elliman Report. That's the most expensive figure since Miller Samuel began tracking northwest Brooklyn rents in January 2008. Even though it feels like rents have been on an upward trend forever, this hike was not intuitive. "It's interesting because rents year-over-year slipped a little in the previous two months," Miller explained. "So this showed that even though rents looked like they were leveling off, they were skirting with a record level all along."

Propelling rent hikes across Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens is fierce competition for smaller apartments, such as studios, one-bedrooms, and two-bedrooms. Would-be buyers are discouraged from purchasing a home because of tight credit, but rising employment leads to more demand for apartments, which pushes rental prices upwards.

In Manhattan, Miller reports, rents rose year-over-year for the 14th consecutive month, jumping 3.5 percent from April 2014 to $3,361. For the first time since he's been tracking this data, the average rent for all of Manhattan remained above $4,000/month ($4,054, to be precise) for three consecutive months. Again, vying for an apartment to lease is tough because wannabe home-buyers are expelled from that market into the rental pool, so landlords aren't likely to grant any concessions or negotiate discounts on asking rents.

"Most importantly," Miller added, "there's no real change in this situation on the horizon because no new modestly priced rental product is being added to the housing stock." Great.

Now over to Queens, where the overall median technically declined. "But all individual size categories increased, i.e., rents are rising," Miller said. "The decline was caused by the surge in one-bedroom rentals," which increased 73 percent year-over-year and pushed the median down... because that's what smaller units do. But when you look separately at studios, one-bedrooms, etc., year-over-year, rents in the parts of Queens the Elliman Report covers—LIC, Woodside, Astoria, and Sunnyside—actually went up. Tricky! Tons of new developments (42.7 percent) means plenty of units are coming online, but there's enough demand to snatch them all up.

The median rent in Queens, at $2,768, was $193 cheaper than in Brooklyn and $593 cheaper than Manhattan.

Citi Habitats is out with their April 2015 rental report, too, which covers Manhattan. It put the average rent for the borough at $3,459.

The data here confirm that it's a landlords' market. "Rents rose, the vacancy rate fell, and the prevalence of move-in incentives declined—all good news for landlords," said a Citi Habitats statement. The price of a one-bedrooms continues to press upward, with a 7 percent year-over-year increase.

The brokerage MNS is also out with their rental reports for Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens (warning: PDFs!).

In Manhattan, according to MNS's data, rents dipped verrrrry slightly from the prior month. From March, a 0.68 percent drop led to an average rental price of $3,939 in April. Year-over-year, though, MNS also saw increases—a 2.5 percent one from April 2014.

Onto Brooklyn, where average rents rose both month-to-month and year-over-year. The figure du jour here is $2,714.14, which marks a 0.48 percent jump from March and a 2.26 percent jump from April of last year.

Lastly in Queens, the average rent of $2,074.17 indicated a negligible smidge of a drop (0.41 percent) from the comparable figure a month prior.

· April 2015 - Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens Rentals [Elliman]
· Resources: Market Reports [MNS]
· Manhattan Market Report April 2015 [MNS (warning: PDF!)]
· Brooklyn Market Report April 2015 [MNS (warning: PDF!)]
· Queens Market Report April 2015 [MNS (warning: PDF!)]
· Manhattan Residential Rental Market Report [Citi Habitats]
· Market Reports coverage [Curbed]