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Saturday, January 31, 2009

NYC: Rents "Falling Fast"

by Calculated Risk on 1/31/2009 07:06:00 PM

From the NY Times: A Month Free? Rents Are Falling Fast (hat tip Brian)

IN this painful economic climate of layoffs and shrinking investments, there is a sliver of positive news: it’s a good time to be a renter in New York City. Prices are falling, primarily in Manhattan, and concessions like a month of free rent are widespread.
The steepest drop was in one-bedrooms, down 5.7 percent in buildings with doormen and 6.53 percent in buildings without. The only category that rose: rents for two-bedroom apartments in doorman buildings, up just a bit, by 0.61 percent. But these numbers, like most available data, represent asking rents rather than the final price. Anecdotal evidence suggests that some people are negotiating rents as much as 20 percent lower than the original prices asked by landlords. These figures also leave out incentives, like a month of free rent or a landlord’s paying the broker fee, which can add up to real savings.
I live in a California beach community and there are usually very few rental units available. I went for a walk this morning, and I was amazed at all the "For Rent" and "For Lease" signs. The market is changing rapidly here too.

On the rental market: Earlier this month I wrote about some of the supply and demand issues, see The Residential Rental Market

And not included in my summary post of January economic activity was this apartment data from the National Multi Housing Council (NMHC):
The stunning job losses and economic deterioration recorded over the past four months have eroded demand for apartments, putting the sector—like other real estate sectors and the economy itself—in a clearly "down" phase of the cycle, according to the National Multi Housing Council's (NMHC) latest Quarterly Survey of Apartment Market Conditions.
Apartment Tightness Index
Click on graph for larger image in new window.

This graph shows the quarterly Apartment Tightness Index.

"The Market Tightness Index, which measures changes in occupancy rates and/or rents, declined sharply this quarter to 11 from 24. This is the third-lowest result on record, and the sixth straight quarter in which the index has been below 50."

It's a good time to be a renter.