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Manhattan's luxury lease prices soar

New York

MANHATTAN rents are on the rise, and climbing fastest for the most-expensive apartments in the New York borough.

Super-luxury rents - the top 5 per cent of the market by price - jumped 9.1 per cent in September from a year earlier to a median of US$12,000, while the top 10 per cent luxury category saw a 3.4 per cent gain to US$8,473, according to data from appraiser Miller Samuel and brokerage Douglas Elliman Real Estate.

By comparison, non-luxury rents - the bottom 90 per cent - rose 1.7 per cent to a median of US$3,395. It was the 10th straight month with an increase.

Leasing in Manhattan is getting more costly as would-be homebuyers at all income levels seek safety in the rental market while waiting for purchase prices to come down.

Luxury sales are particularly slow - falling 13 per cent in the third quarter from a year earlier - as a surplus of new-development inventory competes with high-end co-op resales, and well-heeled shoppers show little interest in either without significant discounts.

So those with a taste for luxury, and the patience to wait for the right place to buy, are choosing to rent.

The leasing strength "reflects the additional weakness we're seeing in the high end of the sales market", said Jonathan Miller, the president of Miller Samuel. "Sales of more than US$2 million, that's where there's blood in the water, so it makes sense that people are camping out in the luxury rental market. We call it 'glamping.'" BLOOMBERG