Manhattan rents hit record highs: Reports

Townhouses on East 78th Street on the Upper East Side in Manhattan.
Townhouses on East 78th Street on the Upper East Side in Manhattan. Photo Credit: Brooklyn Decker/Instagram

Manhattan’s rental prices continue to make history, according to reports released today.

Two surveys say Manhattan rents reached record highs last month, with Douglas Elliman reporting an average of $4,079 for the borough’s pads, while Citi Habitats reports an average of $3,470.

The results are based on the companies’ inventories.

Real estate experts say the market will remain scorching hot, so Manhattan apartment seekers need to have a realistic attitude about their search. “You have to calibrate your expectations, and realize that there isn’t a lot of inventory so sacrifice on some wish list items to get what you want,” said Gary Malin, president at Citi Habitats.

Douglas Elliman’s $4,079 average was a 5.4% jump from the same period last year. Elliman said uptown had the biggest increase in median rent prices, going from $1,950 to $2,600.

Malin, of Citi Habitats, said the spike in rents can be attributed to the fact that spring and summer are the prime rental seasons.

A third report by the real estate group MNS found that Manhattan rents took a small dip since last year despite having an average of $3,861.

MNS’ analysis of its market listings also found a rise in available Manhattan units between May and June with 351 additional apartments hitting the market. Andrew Barrocas, founder and CEO of MNS, said those new apartments helped to drive average rents down 0.7% from $3,842 in June 2013 to $3,816 last month, but that won’t be the trend for the rest of the summer.

Barrocas predicted that rents will continue to grow as landlords compete with a boom in condo construction. “The last 12 to 18 months have seen a condo craze where condo owners are able to pay more for land than someone who is looking to make a rental [building],” he said.

Increasing affordable housing has been a top priority for Mayor Bill de Blasio and other elected officials.

In April, City Comptroller Scott Stinger found that people making below $40,000 spent 41% of their income on rent compared to 2000, when they spent a third.

Barrocas said renters can find some good deals in Harlem and on the West Side, however. Those areas are seeing the most vacancies, he said.