While the number of condos and co-ops sold fell from the second quarter of 2010, brokers still say they're struck by how “normal” the market has become.
By Amanda Fung
The Manhattan residential market held its ground during the second quarter of this year, according to market reports released Friday.
While the number of condos and co-ops sold slipped by as much as 14% during the quarter compared with the same period a year earlier, all the reports noted that last year’s activity was artificially inflated because of the first time homebuyer tax credit expiring at the end of the second quarter 2010.
According to the report by Prudential Douglas Elliman and appraisal firm Miller Samuel Inc., the number of apartment sales during the second quarter slipped 3.9% to 2,650, but increased 10.7% from the first quarter.
“The quarter is a continuation of the stability we’ve been seeing since the middle of last year,” said Jonathan Miller, chief executive of Miller Samuel.
Median sale prices dipped during the quarter compared to a year ago, while average sale prices were lifted by the increased sale of high-end apartments, according to three of the market reports. Median sale prices fell 5.5% to $850,000, while average sale prices rose 1.6% to $1.5 million, the Miller Samuel report noted. According to Brown Harris Stevens, sales of apartments over $5 million, particularly co-op units sold for more than $10 million, drove average prices up 4% to $1.4 million in the quarter.
“The upper end of the market is healthy,” said James Gricar, general sales manager at Halstead Property, which reported that co-op sales of properties sold for at least $10 million almost doubled compared to the second quarter of last year.
“The high-end market will continue to do well as long as Wall Street does well,” said Dottie Herman, chief executive of Prudential Douglas Elliman, who remains concerned about the financing environment, but notes that folks buying properties above $5 million don’t necessarily rely on mortgages.
In other good news, apartments remained on the market for an average of 136 days, which was consistent with the decade-long quarterly average of 132, said Mr. Miller. Sales of apartments in new-development projects are on the rise, representing 21.8% of total sales during the quarter, according to Mr. Miller. Last year, new development sales accounted for just 14.5%.
“The results are encouraging since mortgage financing for new development is still challenging,” said Mr. Miller.
The Corcoran Group reported that most of these new development sales took place in properties that were trying to unload remaining units “by offering terrific value to buyers.” Others, Corcoran reported, came to market post-downturn and “were priced competitively for rapid absorption.” Therefore, the median price for an apartment fell 20% to $979,000 in the second quarter, Corcoran said.
“I’m struck by how normal the market has become,” said Mr. Gricar.
Friday, July 01, 2011