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Financial 411: Weekly Business Roundup

Friday, July 08, 2011

Rental brokers are reporting their second quarter numbers, and they say the market for apartments is tightening.

Since Citi Habitats began keeping records in 2002, the vacancy rate for apartments in Manhattan is the lowest it has ever been. Rent is going way up in Manhattan — nearly 10 percent. In some neighborhoods like Harlem and the Financial District rent has increased by 19 percent.

Agents report they are seeing bidding wars between potential renters at increasing rates.

But not all real estate indicators suggest a strong recovery. Nokia announced this week that it is closing its office in Harrison, New York, and the Wall Street Journal reported this week Westchester's office parks are also a bit vacant.

There's an 18 percent vacancy for office space in the county, compared to 10 percent in Manhattan.

"You can get prime office space for less than half the price of a comparable place in Midtown," said Aaron Rutkoff, a Wall Street Journal editor.

Meanwhile, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's girlfriend, Sandra Lee, isn't covered by financial disclosure laws because the pair isn't married. Lee represents pharmaceutical products made by Bristol-Meyers Squibb and was a celebrity chef at a convention for Petroleum executives.

Rutkoff said he isn't suggesting "influence peddling" but rather he notes how this is a modern relationship that has never been seen before in the governor's office.

Finally, ostrich, meat and eggs are in high demand. Who knew? They are popular at high end eateries like Gentleman Farmer on the Lower East Side. But these restaurants are having trouble getting locally raised ostrich because this spring's heavy rainfall made it more difficult for ostrich to lay eggs. Ostrich need plenty of sunlight to lay eggs, and it typically takes two months before meat is ready to market.

Markets

Another disappointing monthly jobs report pushed stocks down, the Dow lost 62 points and ended at 12,657. Over the week, however, the index added more than 700 points.

The Nasdaq declined 13 points on Friday, to close at 2,860, while the S&P 500 settled at 1,344, down 9 points.

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