May's Real Estate Numbers, Crunched: Manhattan Apartment Vacancy Rates Down, Manhattan Rental Prices Up, Renter's Market... Fading

First things first: there are still plenty of good deals out there on Manhattan rental apartments, and even a healthy number of no-fee rental listings in Manhattan. But as the economy continues its slow bounce-back and the Manhattan real estate market follows suit, it looks more and more like the long renter's market for NYC apartments is drawing to a close. The Real Deal's report on May's Manhattan apartment rental statistics bears this out: citywide apartment vacancy is down to under one percent again, and finding a West Village rental (a .33% vacancy rate) or a rental apartment in Chelsea (.52% vacancy rate) is as hard as it has been in years. But, thankfully, at least for those looking for Manhattan rental apartments, May's stats are not all bad news.

Of course, the renter's market had to end eventually -- this is New York City, after all, and while the days of landlord concessions and months of free rent on Manhattan apartments were great, they were also way out of line with the way real estate gets done in the city. But while the market for rental apartments in certain Manhattan neighborhoods has tightened, some neighborhoods still have above-average vacancy rates, and thus offer deals that might be more advantageous for renters. These neighborhoods include the Upper East Side (a Manhattan-high 1.47% vacancy rate) and Midtown East (1.33%), which are pretty desirable neighborhoods -- check out our Upper East Side apartment listings and Midtown East rental listings for proof -- that just happen to have a bit more apartment development than, say, the West Village. And while average rental prices have climbed, they're nowhere near the stratospheric heights of the real estate boom.

"[Citi Habitats boss Gary] Malin conceded that market seasonality may be influencing activity, but said that this year's rental peak season -- which typically spans from May into the summer months -- is proving to be more active than in 2009," The Real Deal's Amy Tennery writes. If Malin's right that this movement in the NYC rental market reflects more than a seasonal trend -- and we're inclined to think he is -- then he's probably also right in his prescription. "Clients are going to have to be prepared to act quickly," Malin told Tennery. All the more reason, then, to get to browsing Manhattan rental listings.