Landlords in Manhattan are going above and beyond to bring renters to the borough, reaching the highest percentage of move-in incentives in over five years, according to a recent report.
Real estate brokerage Citi Habitats released on Thursday its Manhattan rental market analysis for February of this year.
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Based on the report, rents in Manhattan have in large remained the same while the borough’s vacancy rate dropped to a level which, according to Citi Habitats, was not seen since last September.
The broker added that the decrease in the borough’s vacancy rate is due in large part to a large increase in landlords using incentives to get people to move in, while also keeping their rents high.
“Many landlords have relied upon incentives to keep their face rents high,” said Gary Malin, president of Citi Habitats. “These concessions have, in large part, stabilized the recent rent declines and climbing vacancy rates. However, their prevalence is indicative of a Manhattan rental market that is still out of touch – and beyond the reach of many tenants.”
Citi Habitats noted that a total of 25 percent of rental transactions it had brokered offered prospective tenants a free month’s rent and/or payment of the broker fee as ways to hook people into renting.
Compared to last February, which saw 12 percent of leases offering move-in incentives, this February had the highest concession percentage since July 2010 — which reached 25 percent.
According to the report, in February 2016 the average Manhattan apartment was rented for $3,482 — $7 more than the previous month — and compared to last February, the average rent was $40 more this year.
Compared to last year, rents for one-bedroom homes went up by 5 percent, for studio and 3-bedroom apartments it went up 2 percent, and 2-bedroom apartments went up 1 percent.
The most expensive neighborhoods in Manhattan for February were SoHo/TriBeCa, with a median rent of $5,995; and Chelsea with a median rent of $4,395.
The least expensive neighborhoods were Harlem and Washington Heights, with both holding a median rent of $2,500.
This February Manhattan’s vacancy rate fell to 1.74 percent — down from January’s rate of 1.90 percent and marking the lowest vacancy rate for the borough since last September’s 1.62 percent.
The neighborhoods with the least inventory of rental apartments were Gramercy with a vacancy rate of 0.87 percent, followed by SoHo/TriBeCa with a rate of 1.06 percent.
Manhattan’s East Village had the highest vacancy rate, with 2.25 percent of rental units being vacant.