Manhattan Apartment Sales Dip

CityRealty's latest report reveals a slight drop in the number of Manhattan apartment sales, but prices are still reaching record highs.
Manhattan's 432 Park Ave. is the tallest residential building in the world.

Manhattan’s 432 Park Ave. is the tallest residential building in the world.

New York—While the average sale price for Manhattan apartments remained the same in the month leading up to Feb. 1, the number of sales declined in the same time period, according to the CityRealty’s Monthly Market Report, March 2016. Accounting for both condo and co-op sales, the average apartment price was $2.1 million, while the number of sales was 894 (or $1.9 billion in gross sales)—a drop from the 1,020 sales in the previous month.

This drop from January to February is pretty common, according to Gabby Warshawer, director of research for CityRealty. “The number of apartment sales fluctuates month-to-month, so the dip of around 100 closed sales is not atypical. For example, there were 862 apartment sales recorded two months ago, so this is in line with that,” Warshawer told Multi-Housing News. She added that the “bump” in prices and sales at the end of any given year is often seasonal, “reflected in our January report, so it is not terribly surprising that the number of transactions fell a bit lat month.”

She added that there are around 850 to 1,000 apartment sales recorded every month in Manhattan, and CityRealty isn’t currently forecasting that sales volume or prices will decline in 2016. However, “there are many pricey new condos that have recently started closing… and prices at those will have an effect on average prices in Manhattan, likely raising the average,” she said.

Gabby Warshawer, Director of Research, CityRealty

Gabby Warshawer, Director of Research, CityRealty

These high-end condos are certainly making their mark, as two of them made the top three Manhattan sales for the month. There was the whopping $18.9 million sale of the two-bedroom unit 50C at 432 Park Ave., the newest condo tower to make its way to Billionaire’s Row that has the title of tallest residential building in the world. And rounding out the top three was the sale of the 4,317-square-foot penthouse unit in The Greenwich Lane, another condo complex in Downtown Manhattan that fetched a cool $18.9 million as well.

Topping the list was the $35.3 million sale of a co-op in 101 Central Park West, a prewar building. The unit had five bedrooms and was purchased by the seller in 2003 for $12.2 million. The seller had renovated the building prior to selling.

By region, Downtown was the highest-grossing area in Manhattan with the highest prices to boot. Downtown racked up $591 million in condo sales with the highest price of $2,246 per square foot. Warshawer attributed this to the fact that Downtown has the highest concentration of new condo development, which typically means its the highest grossing region every month in CityRealty’s report. “That does not seem likely to change—while new condos are built all over, there is simply more new development in Downtown.”

The second highest-grossing region was Midtown, trailing a bit behind at $326 million in sales and $1,876 per square foot. Other regions that made the top five included the Upper East Side ($147 million in sales), Upper West Side ($116 million) and the Financial District/BCP ($101 million).

“Other areas, such as the Upper East Side or Upper West Side, have more entrenched markets that tend to be strong in the volume and pricing of co-ops, which are less expansive than condos,” Warshawer said.

While the overall results of the report were unsurprising, Warshawer noted an achievement for Manhattan. “We hit record prices in Manhattan for the second year in a row in 2015, so it will be interesting to see if there’s a threepeat.”