Number crunching today's bipolar rental market reports

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Someone pass the lithium--you'll need it for today's "It's up!"/"No, it's down!!" rental market reports.  Citi-Habitats finds that [a]verage Manhattan rents are up across all apartment categories, when comparing the third quarter of 2010 to the same period in 2009, but the Prudential Douglas Elliman report shows that average rent for ALL units declined 8% year over year, from $3,759 to $3,400 per apartment.

Citi-Habitats dispenses a glimmer of good news--vacancies rose “modestly” from their lows in July--while PDE finds that inventory declined a whopping 28.1% from the same time period last year. Confused?  You’re not alone.