BY Phyllis Furman DAILY NEWS BUSINESS WRITER
Bargains are drying up for Manhattan apartment renters – reflective of a broader trend in the other four boroughs as well.
Rents rose last month, while the vacancy rate shrunk and landlord concessions were down significantly compared with last year, according to a report due out Wednesday by residential real estate brokerage firm Citi Habitats.
It’s a 180-degree different market from a year ago, said Citi Habitats’ President Gary Malin.
A recent survey by the Real Estate Board of New York found that, compared with last year, 26% more brokers in the city reported closing rental deals over the summer at asking prices.
Average rents for Manhattan apartments were up modestly last month compared with October and rose considerably compared with November 2009.
The average November rent for a one-bedroom in Manhattan was $2,545, a 1% increase from October and a 9% jump from last year. Two-bedrooms went for $3,465, flat compared with October and up 5% compared with November 2009.
Washington Heights was Manhattan’s most affordable neighborhood ($1,313 for a one-bedroom), while SoHo/Tribeca was the priciest ($3,661).
The vacancy rate inched up last month, hitting 1.29%, slightly higher than October’s 1.24% vacancy rate, but down from last year, when it was 1.87%.
Landlord concessions, such as a free month’s rent and payment of a broker’s fee, were involved in 20% of Citi Habitats’ deals last month and were mostly offered by new buildings.
While concessions were up slightly from October, they were down significantly from last December, when owner incentives peaked and 60% of all deals included some type of sweetener.
Apartments with tight vacancy rates are in no mood to offer concessions, Malin said.
But the market could soften in the coming months as the vacancy rate traditionally widens during the slower winter season.
There is more negotiability this time of the year, Malin said.