Manhattan Residential Market Slowly Climbing Out of Recession

New York--The average Manhattan apartment sale price of $1,377,135 was up slightly from last quarter.

Dees Stribling, Contributing Editor

New York–Two reports on the Manhattan residential market by two locally based residential specialists, both released in early July, point to improvement in sales volume and prices compared with the depths of the recession last year. According to the 2Q10 market report by Brown Harris Stevens, for example, the total number of closings in Manhattan recorded during the quarter — 2,522 — was up 81 percent when compared to the same period a year ago.

The average Manhattan apartment sale price of $1,377,135 was up slightly from last quarter and up 9 percent from the same period in 2009, the report notes. The average price for cooperatives sold during the first quarter of 2010 was $1,065,814, up 16 percent from a year ago. At $1,686,690, the average condominium price was up 4 percent from a year ago.

On the West Side, as was the case in the last quarter, closings in new developments helped bring the average condo price up. The average price per room of West Side co-ops also saw an increase; when compared to the second quarter of 2009, this figure was up 13 percent for prewar and 3 percent for postwar co-ops.

The 2Q10 Prudential Douglas Elliman Manhattan Market Overview, prepared by Miller Samuel Inc., also showed a Manhattan housing market that showed some improvement over the past year. Among other metrics, the report noted that price per square foot for Manhattan residential properties in 2Q10 was $1,051, down 0.5 percent from $1,056 in the same period a year earlier but up 1.2 percent from $1,038 in the prior quarter.

Also, the median sales price for Manhattan residential was $899,000, up 7.6 percent from 2Q09 and up 3.6 percent from the prior quarter. Average sales price was $1,432,712, up 9.1 percent from the prior-year quarter and up 0.4 percent from $1,426,994 in the prior quarter. The number of sales, according to this report’s reckoning, surged 79.9 percent, compared with 2Q09, to 2,756 sales, and increased 15.6 percent from the prior quarter.

“The disconnect between buyer and seller expectations continues to remain,” Jonathan J. Miller, president and CEO of Miller Samuel, tells MHN. “The listing discount—the difference between list price and contract price—expanded in the second quarter to 9.1 percent from 5.1 percent during the first quarter as sellers ‘tested’ the waters this spring by listing higher after observing the sharp increase in sales.”

Buyers were having none of that, however. “Buyers resisted and prices remained flat,” Miller continues. “Sellers had to travel further to meet buyers to have a ‘meeting of the minds’ and agree on the price.”

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