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Rents on the rise again in Manhattan and Brooklyn as economy improves

Open up your wallets: Rents are rising again.

After several months when it appeared the sizzling rental market was cooling down, prices for rentals in Manhattan and Brooklyn rebounded in February, according to two reports released yesterday.

The average price of a Manhattan rental edged up $32 to $3,243, marking the first time in six months that rents have increased on a month over month basis.

The increase was surprising, given that prices usually fall in the winter months.

A separate report from Douglas Elliman showed price increases on a year over year basis were fatter then they had been in the last several months.

The average rental price in Manhattan was $3,956, up 4.9% from last year, according to Douglas Elliman. The average rent in Brooklyn surged 15.4% to $3,096.

Renters of apartments with three or more bedrooms in Brooklyn got some major sticker shock in February, with prices up a whopping 46.6% to $5,348.

“You have a lot of families priced out of Manhattan looking for space and supply is limited,” Jonathan Miller, CEO of appraisal firm Miller Samuel, which compiles the data for Douglas Elliman, told the Daily News.

Landlords in both boroughs are getting a lift from improving employment conditions which impacts the rental market faster than it does the sales market.

At the same time, tight credit and rising apartment sales prices are blocking would be buyers from purchasing homes, upping the demand for rentals.

“Renters are reluctant to give up on their leases,” Mark Menendez, director of rentals at Douglas Elliman told the Daily News.

Also pushing up rents: a lack of new inventory.

About 2,000 units are expected to hit the Manhattan market this year vs. the 8,000 new apartments offered for sale in 2007, during the peak of the building frenzy, according to stats provided to the News by Citi Habitats.

“There is not a lot of new construction on the rental side,” Citi Habitats president Gary Malin told the News.

Miller doesn’t see much relief ahead for renters.

“We don’t expect credit to ease and we expect employment to continue to rise in New York City,” he said. “All those factors will keep the pressure on rents.”

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