Gregory J. Heym
Executive Vice President, Chief Economist
By BRADEN KEIL
A bustling local economy, stabilized mortgage rates, and strong demand for New York real estate have brought the city's residential sales market out of its yearlong doldrums.
The latest quarterly reports, compiled by the city's top real-estate brokerage companies, show that residential sales in Manhattan have jumped nearly 50 percent from the first quarter of 2006.
"It's a great start to the year," said Tresa Hall, executive vice president of sales for the Corcoran Group. "We're joyous about the numbers. To say we're optimistic would be an understatement."
Hall adds, however, that this time of year is generally the most active for real estate in the city.
According to the results from Prudential Douglas Elliman, the Manhattan residential market roared into 2007, posting a surge in the number of sales, a declining inventory, rising prices and shorter marketing times.
The reports paint a rosy picture of New York real estate compared to the real-estate sales slump in the most of the country.
Record bonus income from Wall Street and stabilizing mortgage rates have also helped fuel the market in the last quarter.
The most impressive number was a 73 percent increase in sales reported by the appraisal firm Miller Samuel, which crunched the numbers for Prudential.
"About a third of that is attributable to co-ops entering the public domain for the first time," explains Jonathan Miller. "But even that's still a big jump."
According to Miller, last year at this time house hunters were "agonizing over the renting-versus-buying decision."
"Our brokers are telling us they've never been busier during this time of the year," said Greg Heym, the chief economist for Brown Harris Stevens and Halstead Property. His sales numbers show a 26 percent rise in the past year.
Analysts say the bulk of sales came from smaller apartments, especially studios, which explains why prices advanced or declined mostly in single digits.
The Prudential report says the average price of co-ops last quarter was $1.132 million, up 3.6 percent from last year but up 8.1 percent from the previous quarter.
Meanwhile, the price of condos actually dropped 1.8 percent, to $1.45 million, for the year and down 2.11 percent from the previous quarter.
The Brown Harris report shows prices in the high-end market jumped double digits in the last 12 months.
Tuesday, April 03, 2007