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While Rent Prices Dropped Around the Country in March, Manhattan Hit a New Record High The average cost of renting an apartment in Manhattan in March was up 12.8% from a year ago.

By Madeline Garfinkle

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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Rent growth in the U.S. significantly cooled in March at an average pace of 0.5% — marking a drop from 0.7% in both January and February, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Rent decreased the most in Austin, TX (-11%), Chicago, IL (-9.2%) and New Orleans, LA (-3%), according to data from Redfin.

The decrease in pace across the country and major metropolitan areas could suggest that further drops in rent are underway — but not everywhere.

While the overall rate of rent growth declined across the U.S., New York's Manhattan borough hit new record highs in March. The median rental price on the island was $4,175 in March, up 12.8% from the same period the previous year and up 2% from February, according to a report from Douglas Elliman.

The former record high was $4,150 in July.

Related: 'Where Does That Money Go?': A Look Inside New York City's Ruthless Housing Market

New leasing activity was also up — 15.4% as compared to last year — and up 20.5% from February, per the report. The uptick in rental activity could be attributed to high mortgage rates, which are nearly double compared to a year ago, meaning many would-be buyers are renting instead.

"The drive in more leasing activity is parallel in the rise in mortgage rates that has continued to push people into the rental market," Jonathan Miller, president and CEO of Miller Samuel, told CNN. "Not just the unaffordability, but also the uncertainty."

Historically, rent in Manhattan increases in spring and peaks in late summer, so the current uptick may signal there could be more record highs ahead.

"We're entering prime leasing season in an already tight market and seasonal pressure may force new records to occur," Miller said, per CNN. "I wouldn't be surprised if we saw a few months where we see more record highs."

Related: NYC Rent On a Minimum Wage Salary? That'll Be Over 100 Hours a Week

Madeline Garfinkle

News Writer

Madeline Garfinkle is a News Writer at She is a graduate from Syracuse University, and received an MFA from Columbia University. 

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