The Rent May Be Too Damn High, But it’s Getting Higher

tenement The Rent May Be Too Damn High, But its Getting Higher

You probably can't afford it (pietroizzo, flickr)

Guess what? The rental market is even more crazy expensive than it was before.

Rents increased across all apartment categories, the vacancy rate dropped and concessions were just about impossible to come by last month, according to Citi Habitats monthly rental market report. Given that March was already a month of record-setting highs, and that the rental market often heats up as spring shifts into summer, it’s not a great time to be apartment hunting in the city.

It’s going to be a rough summer for renters, especially since the rush of college grads should be starting any minute now.

Only 2,230 new rental units will come on the Manhattan market during 2012, according to Citi Habitats, the lowest number since the company began tracking data in 2005. The vacancy rate is extremely low, and likely to get lower (April in Manhattan saw a vacancy rate of 1.16 percent).

“With limited inventory, conditions for apartment-seekers will likely remain highly competitive for at least the near future,” said Citi Habitats president Gary Malin.

In April, the average Manhattan apartment rented for $3,429, up from the March record of $3,418. The previous record was set in May 2007, when the average rent was $3,394. Manhattan studios averaged out $2,025, a four percent increase from the month before. Soon, not even guarantors are going to be able to afford these prices!

And forget sweet deals like a free month’s rent or the landlord paying the broker’s fee. But it’s not totally hopeless.

“Although this is a tough market, I like to say there are opportunities around every corner in Manhattan,” said Mr. Malin.  “You just need to be willing to look around those corners.”

Recommended: older buildings, walk-ups, not having a doorman, moving to Queens.

kvelsey@observer.com