Manhattan Rents Continue to Rise, Amaze, Defy Logic and Rationality

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Photo: iStockphoto.com

If you hear fireworks overhead tonight, it's probably the city's many, many real-estate agents celebrating: There's news today that the average monthly rent on a Manhattan studio — a studio! — is closing in on $2,000. According to the latest data from Citi Habitats, in the last year the average studio apartment went for $1,995 a month, compared to $1,659 four years prior. This data flies in the face of the theory that, while the condo market is still incomparably hot, the rental field was supposed to have plateaued.

Is it, you might ask, because most of the new units on the market are one- and two-bedrooms? Nope: The rent on one-bedrooms is also up by $500, two-bedrooms up by $700, and three-bedrooms by about $1,500 (to the astonishing average of $5,534 a month). Okay, what about the supposed oversupply — isn't there a new building on every damn block? Irrelevant: The borough-wide vacancy rate is still less than one percent. New arrivals, many of them Europeans wielding the ever-stronger Euro, fill up new rentals as fast as the city can put them up. There's only one possible conclusion, and we'll humbly let the Citi Habitats spokesman vocalize it for us: "We're the center of everything." Except, you know, being able to afford a decent place to live.

Ave. Rent: $2,000 a Month, For a Studio [amNY]