Manhattan Apartment Vacancies Increase for the First Time Since November

Manhattan’s apartment vacancy rate climbed in August for the first time in nine months as New York unemployment exceeded 9 percent and landlords made fewer rent concessions, broker CitiHabitats said.

Rental vacancies climbed to 1.1 percent from 0.88 percent in July, New York-based CitiHabitats said today in its monthly rental report. The rate, which had declined each month since November, is the highest since April, when it was 1.23 percent.

Vacancies probably were boosted by a decline in rent breaks and little improvement in New York City’s unemployment rate, CitiHabitats said. The city’s jobless rate was 9.4 percent in July, the latest month for which figures are available, compared with 9.5 percent in June, according to the New York State Department of Labor.

“There is conflicting news out there on the economy,” CitiHabitats President Gary Malin said in an interview. “Every day you hear something different.”

The brokerage bases its estimates on vacancies at more than 300 “bellwether buildings” across 11 Manhattan neighborhoods, covering about 52,000 apartments, said Daniel Charles, a spokesman for CitiHabitats. The buildings range from walk-ups to high-rises and include properties with and without doormen, he said.

Rents at Manhattan studio and one-bedroom apartments were little changed from July, averaging $1,821 and $2,487 in August. Two-bedroom rents climbed 1 percent to $3,450, and three-bedroom rents fell 1 percent to $4,590, according to the report.

Twenty percent of rental transactions carried a landlord- sponsored concession, such as a month’s free rent or payment of broker’s fees, Malin said. Those concessions were offered mostly at new buildings, he said. In June, 28 percent of CitiHabitats deals came with landlord incentives.

CitiHabitats based its rental estimate report on more than 1,400 lease deals the company handled in August, Malin said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Oshrat Carmiel in New York at ocarmiel1@bloomberg.net.

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