NEW YORK -- If you thought New York City rent couldn't go any higher, it has.
The average monthly rent in Manhattan has hit a record $5,000 a month, and renters are struggling to pay it.
CBS2's Natalie Duddridge bumped into Mike Dias just as he was rushing to see an apartment in Hell's Kitchen to beat the other bidders.
"It's crazy right now, insane," he said. "We're trying to stay under $4k, hopefully."
One couple who just moved from the West Coast to New York says they are priced out of one bedrooms, so they're looking at studios, and even that is a challenge.
"Our budget is around $3,500, so it's been pretty hard to find anything," one person said.
According to a report by Douglas Elliman, a one-bedroom reached a record average of $5,058 in June, and it went up even more in July to $5,113. That's $1,000 more than a year ago.
"I've never seen these prices, and also the desperation for people to really find somewhere to live," Douglas Elliman agent Melinda Sicari said.
She says she expected once pandemic discounts were over, tenants wouldn't be able to afford rent and would move, but many, despite massive increases, stayed.
This came as workers returned to the city, and for the last eight months, the vacancy rate dropped under 2 percent.
Add to the mix, the lack of new builds.
"Nothing has been built for the last three years because of the, you know, pandemic, but the cost of construction right now has doubled because of supply chain issues," real estate developer Sam Liebman said.
Liebman predicts prices could keep rising.
"If they're not going to build and increase the supply and there's more demand, the prices are just going to keep going up ... Remember, those are free market rent, so the landlord can basically charge what they want," he said.
If you are looking for a discount, experts say moving to Brooklyn or Queens could still score you some savings. Average rental in Brooklyn was $3,883 in July while it was $3,426 in Queens.
Two men were too busy moving out to stop and talk but said with the rents sky high, they're going back home to live with their parents.
Housing experts predict the next break for Manhattan renters will be during the holiday season.
for more features.