Median Manhattan residential rents remain flat, inventory drops over 25 percent

The average Manhattan rent reached $3,499 during the fourth quarter of 2010, according to a new Prudential Douglas Elliman report, released today, down 7.7 percent from the same quarter a year earlier, when that figure was $3,789. The median price in the residential market, however, stayed relatively flat, climbing 1.1 percent during the same time period. 

Inventory, meanwhile, declined to 3,862 homes, down 26.1 percent from a year ago, according to the report, which is based on market-wide data. 

Overall, the rental market is showing modest improvement, according to Yuval Greenblatt, an executive vice president with Elliman. 

"Rent prices are not flying through the roof," Greenblatt said. "[But] the general impression for the market is that it's stable. Rents are generally flat." 

Downtown, the median rental price climbed 4.2 percent to $3,125 in the fourth quarter, compared to the same time period a year earlier. The neighborhood, which the report defines as the area below 34th Street, was the strongest performer of the quarter. Uptown, which the report considers the blocks above West 116th Street and East 96th Street, saw its median rent drop 7.6 percent to $1,498, while the West Side median -- which spans the rest of the west side -- declined 8.6 percent to $3,195 and the East Side -- which covers the rest of the east side -- median climbed 2.5 percent to $2,665. 

Greenblatt said he expects 2011 to show steady progress, adding that he's encouraged by a drop in the number of concessions being offered to lease signers. 

Jonathan Miller, the head of appraisal firm Miller Samuel and author of the report, noted that he, too, had seen fewer instances of concessions like free rent paid-off brokers' fees. 

"The rental market has gained a lot of ground over the years in terms of landlords being able to get rents that approach face rents," Miller said. "We're not going back to where we came from." 

That sentiment echoes a rental report released yesterday by Citi Habitats, which noted that, while rentals haven't bounced back to the peak days, the market is showing some positive momentum. 

Citi Habitats also noted a precipitous decline in landlord concessions. Thirty-one percent of rental transactions recorded by the firm in 2010 involved a concession, down from 52 percent in 2009.

Source: The Real Deal


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