HUFFINGTON POST
03/01/2012 10:56 am ET

Rents Rise In Major Cities: Federal Reserve Beige Book

Renters are getting squeezed.

Even as home prices continue to fall, not many can afford to buy a house. Rents in major cities across the country rose last year, according to the Federal Reserve's Beige Book, released on Wednesday.

Rising demand for rental properties is outpacing supply. Meanwhile, renters are struggling to afford the rent: Real wages declined in the last three months of 2011. People are not seeing accompanying increases in pay as millions of Americans remain out of work.

Effective rents in Manhattan rose 9 to 10 percent last year, including retracted rent concessions, or discounts to lure new renters to vacant properties, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Apartment rents "have risen significantly" in Boston in the past year, the Boston Fed wrote. The Boston Fed added that rising rents may push some renters to buy homes or condos.

Rents increased "in many markets" in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, the Minneapolis Fed wrote.

Demand for rental space "remained robust" in the Western United States, the San Francisco Fed wrote.

And rents rose in the Chicago area, according to the Chicago Fed.

Landlords are pulling back on rent concessions across the country. Rent concessions have "abated" across the Southeast, according to the Atlanta Fed. Rent concessions in and around Pennsylvania are "scarcer," according to the Philadelphia Fed.

Rents for primary residences across the country rose 2.4 percent between January 2011 and January 2012, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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