We talk about the renter's market here at the Luxury Rentals Manhattan blog the way that older men in bars talk about their high school football days, but we do so for a reason -- those were good times to be in the market for Manhattan rental apartments. Not only were rents down -- or, at the very least, flat -- but concessions abounded from the bottom of the market to the top. As the renter's market has receded during the NYC rental market's return to form, those concessions have become harder nad harder to find. They're still out there, of course -- there are plenty of no-fee rental listings in Manhattan and, oddly enough, concessions are still available to find at new construction luxury rentals such as The Ohm and 808 Columbus Avenue -- but concessions have been harder and harder to come by in recent months, despite widespread hopes that there would be a concession bounce-back in the fall. Just-released fourth-quarter statistics make it plain -- the last few months have seen the number of concessions fall by more than half from where they were in January of 2010 and are roughly a third of what they were at the end of 2009. Good news for landlords, in short, but less so for those hunting for Manhattan rental apartments. Combine this with a bump in rents and a low vacancy rate, and it's hard to find a silver lining in all this. Luckily, it's out there.
"In December 2009, 60 percent of Citi Habitats-tracked rental transactions included some kind of concessions, such as the payment of a broker's fee or a month of free rent," Curbed's Sara Polsky reports. "This December, only 22 percent of deals included any concessions." Which is, of course, not really that good. But we don't need to strain to see a silver lining here, and it's not just that 22 percent of Manhattan rental listings still offer a concession. The bright spot: seasonality. The general trend suggests that, for once and perhaps for the last time in a while, a sign that the next few months might hold more good news for renters than landlords.
"A return to normal seasonal patterns means a slow winter rental market, so right now, renters, anything goes," Polsky writes. "Time to get apartment huntin'!" Hey, she said it. But, yeah: get apartment huntin'.