Manhattan rents have stopped rising, reports say

Buildings along Spring Street between Wooster and W. Broadway in Soho, Thursday, March  17, 2016.
Buildings along Spring Street between Wooster and W. Broadway in Soho, Thursday, March 17, 2016. Photo Credit: jalbertgagnier via Flickr (CC-BY-SA)

Manhattan renters are fed up with the borough’s housing costs, causing prices in the borough to plateau, according to market reports released by two top real estate groups.

Twenty-four months of rising year-over-year median rental prices in Manhattan came to a halt in March, according to new data from Douglas Elliman. For the first time in two years, the year-over-year median rental price declined, falling 2.8 percent from $3,395 in March 2015 to $3,300 last month.

The average rent fell 3.3 percent from $4,126 in March 2015 to $3,989 last month, the real estate group found.

The vacancy rate rose, according to Douglas Elliman, reaching 2.42 percent last month, up from 1.99 percent the year before.

A market report released today from Citi Habitats found the average rent in Manhattan to be $3,473 in March, down $9 from February.

Rental prices stopped rising out of necessity, according to Citi Habitats president Gary Malin. Tenants stopped being able to afford to rent apartments in Manhattan, he said.

“Tenants have finally reached their pain threshold,” he said. “Pricing remains near all-time highs, and Manhattan renters have reached the point where they can no longer transact — it’s just become too expensive.”

The vacancy rate fell from 1.96 percent in the fourth quarter of 2015 to 1.77 percent in the first quarter of 2016, according to Citi Habitats.

To get the vacancy rate down, landlords relied on concessions, such as paying the broker fee or giving a month’s rent free, to entice renters, real estate experts said.

According to Douglas Elliman, the number of rentals that came with concessions more than doubled from 4.8 percent in March 2015 to 13.6 percent last month.

Citi Habitats found that 21 percent of rentals brokered in the first quarter of 2016 included concessions, up from 12 percent in both the first and last quarters of 2015.