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NEW YORK ( TheStreet) --I culled from various sources over the weekend to help support a few recently recurring themes on which most people can probably come to consensus.

  • Apartment rents are rising; vacancy rates are tight.
  • The coolest, close-in urban neighborhoods command rental premiums relative to those on the urban periphery and in suburban locales.
  • Irrespective of the size of the city, this holds true in most large and medium-size places, particularly those with pockets or wide swaths of vibrant city life.

    It's been all over the news lately: The average price of an apartment in New York City is approaching $3,000. It's the tightest market in America with a vacancy rate of 2.2%. San Francisco ranks second in terms price at close to $1,900. The year-over-year increase in San Francisco hit 5.9%, the biggest jump in the nation.

    These averages, however, do not tell you the entire story. Rents vary widely on a neighborhood-specific basis.

    For example, according to a report updated in May by Manhattan's MNS Real Estate, a two-bedroom in TriBeCa fetches an average rent of more than $8,000. In Harlem, that number drops to approximately $2,800. The same phenomenon holds true in San Francisco, where apartments in the Mission and South of Market districts routinely command more than $3,000.

    With so much focus on the finance and tech meccas of New York and San Francisco, many observers fail to acknowledge that this trend exists in cities that receive much less ink.

    For example, Portland, Ore., has the second-lowest vacancy rate in the United States behind only New York City. Some analyses put the two cities neck and neck at 2.2%. Over the last 12 months, average rents in Portland have increased 5%, second to just San Francisco. While the mean rent is $831 citywide, the average heads well into the thousands in 'hoods such as Portland's Pearl District.

    Charlotte, N.C., gets very little hype as an urban hotbed, yet we see the same dynamic play out there. While the average rent in Charlotte comes in just under $800, you'll pay closer to $1,200 in the city's Uptown neighborhood and over $1,000 South of Uptown. In South Carolina, where I have several friends, lots of folks would prefer to live in Greenville's nicely redeveloped city center, but they cannot afford it.

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