Again, no surprise to Trends Journal subscribers: about 15,000 apartments were standing empty in the heart of New York City in August, compared to 5,600 a year previous, according to a report by Miller Samuel Real Estate Appraisers.

The number is the largest ever seen since the data began being collected in 2006.

In response, more landlords than ever before are offering incentives, averaging 1.9 months of free rent.

Rental prices also have dropped about 4 percent in August, leaving the average monthly rent for a two-bedroom Manhattan apartment at $4,756, still too high to entice renters to remain, analysts say. Rates for one-bedroom apartments have come down an average of 5 percent to $3,445 and studio rates have fallen 9 percent to $2,574.

Most of the vacancies are in the middle and upper categories of the market; cheaper flats are rented by lower-income earners who cannot work at home or afford to move.

The rental market is seen as a bellwether of New York City’s broader real estate market, as renters move more quickly than owners in response to economic shifts.

“The rental market is weak and getting weaker,” Jonathan Miller, CEO of Miller Samuel told the CNBC. “First-time [home] buyers in outlying areas are largely coming from the Manhattan rental market.”

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