Rents in Manhattan Rebound to Record Highs 

A LITTLE more than two years ago, Tom Graney was paying a reasonable $2,200 for a spacious two-bedroom apartment on 11th Avenue and 52nd Street.

When Mr. Graney learned in early 2009 that his rent would be rising to $2,500, he decided to see if he could do better for his money. After all, it was just months after the collapse of Lehman Brothers, and many of New York’s most luxurious apartment buildings were desperate to find tenants, offering wildly generous incentives and cut-rate deals.

Mr. Graney settled on the Helena, a new glass tower at the corner of 11th Avenue and 57th. He found a one-bedroom with a home office for $2,840, and the management paid his broker’s fee and gave him one month’s free rent on a two-year lease.

“When you add in the month’s free rent,” he said, “it was really not much more than I would have been paying at my old place.” The new building was posh, with a fitness center and a rooftop deck that had stunning views. “It was nice,” said Mr. Graney, 28, a video producer, “and it felt like I was making progress.”

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