Soft Market - if you rented in a hot market it might be time to move and get that lower rent for a better apartment.
Stay where you are - if you don't need to move, don't. Renegotiate some nice rent with current landlord. Landlords like tenants that are quiet and pay their rent on time.
Rent vs Buy - many great calculators that can help answer this question - it is specific to New York City and the individual. (When you start to see rents rise in large volumes, it may be moving towards a good time to buy especially in an up and coming neighborhood).
Time line - if you are staying in the city for only a couple years or your future is up in the air, rent.
In general, rental rates are beginning to go up again in Manhattan as inventory dwindles. Many would-be buyers cannot obtain financing now with the tougher lending requirements so they are renting for the time-being.
Any other questions, let me know!
Senior Vice President
Top 1% Producer Nationwide
Prudential Douglas Elliman Real Estate
P.S. Visit our advanced new real estate web site, Elliman.com. It features the most rental and sale listings in the NYC metro area.