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NEW YORK CITY-The co-op and condominium market in Manhattan has stabilized in the last several weeks, with sales picking up in May after a listless April and selling prices up over what they were a year ago, according to the Beige Book, a report published eight times a year by the Federal Reserve Bank. The apartment market has leveled off in Manhattan, according to the report, but rents have moved up in the outer boroughs by 10% to 20% compared to a year ago. The number of multifamily housing permits issued is comparable with 2000, which turned in the best performance since the mid-1980s.

The office market did not do as well in April, with availability rates rising 0.5% from March to one-year highs in Midtown (5.5%) and Downtown (5.6%). The rate hit 7.8% in Midtown South, the highest in four years. The silver lining is that availability rates are low by historic standards, and although asking rents have dipped of late, they are still up by more than 20% from a year ago.

In March and April, Manhattan’s hotel occupancy rate averaged 78%, a slippage of 10% from mid-year 2000, and the average room rate slipped 2.5%, the steepest drop since 1993. High-priced hotels suffered sharper drops in these averages than less-expensive establishments.

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