Diane M. Ramirez
Gregory J. Heym
Executive Vice President, Chief Economist
By BRADEN KEIL
As housing values in the rest of the country plummet, Manhattan real-estate continues to soar - thanks to a shortage of apartments only multimillionaires can afford.
Prices for condos and co-ops have shot up as much as 36 percent in the past year to an average price of $1.66 million. Median prices have reached a record high of $979,000, up 23 percent from a year ago, according to newly released brokers' reports.
And this is driving up prices all over Manhattan - at a time when single-family home prices across the nation are plunging.
"There's simply a shortage of unaffordable housing," deadpanned superbroker Dolly Lenz of Prudential Douglas Elliman.
The sizzling high-end luxury market is primarily responsible for Manhattan's upswing, with two condos, The Plaza and 15 Central Park West, leading the pack.
"The high-end brokers are having their best year ever," said Corcoran CEO Pamela Liebman.
"The megarich are showing no signs of holding back. The competition for the trophy apartments is staggering," she said.
Liebman said that, in the current climate, a buyer could have purchased a $30 million apartment last year and been able to unload it this year for $60 million.
The average condo price rose to $1.97 million in the second quarter of 2008, a 38 percent increase over the same period the previous year, according to a Halstead Property/Brown Harris Stevens report.
But taking out 15 CPW and the Plaza would reduce the average price by $319,485 to $1.65 million, said analyst Greg Heym.
Still, even that figure is 16 percent higher than the second quarter of 2007.
But all is not rosy, say many analysts, with overall sales of apartments plunging 38 percent from 5,404 units in the second quarter of 2007 to just 3,351 last quarter, said the Corcoran report.
And prices in the new reports often reflect closings on deals first made as long as two years ago, said Prudential CEO Dottie Herman.
Wednesday, July 02, 2008