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Tight rental market may mean it's time to buy -- if you can



Talia Andrews-Rankin, 27, a six-year veteran of the Manhattan real estate wars, has emerged from her latest battle declaring the rental market “the most competitive” she’s ever seen.

She and boyfriend Jeffrey Scribner, 28, decided to leave their one-bedroom on the Upper East Side after a $125 per month rent increase.

But reality bit when when they arrived at one open house 15 minutes early — and found two couples with checkbooks at the ready, filling out applications.

Read our other cover fall Real Estate preview coverage:
Autumn in New York Real Estate: SALES
Autumn in New York real estate: RENTALS
Autumn in New York Real Estate: Swap and Shop

They finally scored a cheaper apartment in a walk-up building, but they’ll definitely be settling for less when their lease begins Oct. 1.

“We had to sacrifice a tremendous amount to stay within our budget. We are moving from a doorman-elevator building to a fifth-floor walk-up with no amenities further uptown,” she said.

Scribner believes the “aggressive rental market” will bring “more and more purchasing opportunities in Manhattan.” But they are still going to wait to buy.

“We just think there is a little bit more downside to go,” he said.

And they may be right.

This fall, Manhattan’s real estate market can perhaps best be described as one where the rental market is tight, and the buying opportunities may be right — if you have the cash and credit to take the plunge.

In keeping with tradition, this fall likely will be a busy time for sales and a slightly slower time for rentals. But there are several unique-to-2011 challenges in both markets. Here’s a primer to help you decide what to do this fall.


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