The city’s big real estate brokerage firms are coming out with their 1st quarter apartment rental reports today. Citywide, Douglas Elliman reports rents are up 9% from a year ago. On the Lower East Side, says City Habitats, a 1-bedroom apartment costs an average of $2180/month. That’s less than most other Manhattan neighborhoods (the average 1-bedroom citywide is going for $2657). RentJuice, a real estate data firm, says rents went up 9% on the LES compared with the 4th quarter 2011. In the East Village rental prices dropped by about the same amount. Experts speculate prices are rising in New York due to the overall improvement in our economy and also because banks are approving fewer mortgages (meaning a lot of people have no choice but to rent). Check out Curbed for more on today’s number crunching.