Amanda Fung has a new article in the March 8th online version of Crain’s New York Business that starts like this:
Apartment bargains melted away in warm Feb.
Unseasonable temperatures bring out more customers and landlords respond by cutting concessions and even hiking some rents. A “disappointing season” for tenants seen.
Let me start by saying that for once, the hokey headlines with the clever allusions to the warm weather and the warm market are absolutely true. February is traditionally the slowest month of the year for apartment rentals in New York.
This year’s February showed surprising strength. From year to year, our inventory of available no fee rental apartments usually swells approximately 50% to 60% over the number of apartments usually available in any given June. That didn’t happen this year. At best, our inventory increased a modest 20%, meaning that as apartments became available, they were quickly snapped up by renters.
Another point Amanda Fung touches on is that some rents went up during February. This is more than true, and it is probably the first year in the past 10 that I can recall not just a few rents going up, but most rents going up. Traditionally, rents go down in January and February, then stabilize in March and April and begin climbing in May. This year, rents went up in February – to the point where it is hard to find a studio apartment in the prime areas of Manhattan for $1,800 or less. A year ago at this time, we had dozens of apartments renting for $1,600 or less in the same neighborhoods.
According to Gary Malin of Citi Habitats,
What is traditionally the slowest month of the year, the one that typically affords renters their best chance to find real deals, was nothing of the sort this year. Instead, the average rent for a Manhattan apartment held firm at January’s level of $3,223 a month, up 5% from February a year ago. Experts say that unseasonable solidity means that rents will likely pick up in the spring and summer.
Rents across all types of apartments rose. Even apartments with no doorman saw an increase. In fact, two-bedroom apartments in properties with nobody manning the door recorded the steepest increase of any apartment type, jumping 10.5% from February of last year to $4,212 a month. Rent for one-bedroom units and studios with no doorman both rose 4.8%, to $2,920 and $2,193, respectively. For apartments with a doorman, rent for one-bedrooms rose 3.7% to $3,692 and rents for studios and two-bedrooms each rose 6.8%, to $2,639 and $5,782, respectively.