Real Estate Weekly
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Manhattan apartment sales decline continues

The Manhattan residential sales market continues its descent from record highs, with sellers becoming more willing to provide discounts to close deals.

According to Douglas Elliman’s first quarter 2017 report, the median sales price for a Manhattan home dropped to $1.1 million. That represents a 3.3 percent decline from the same period a year ago.

Miller Samuel CEO Jonathan Miller, who provided analysis for the report, attributed the drop to the shrinking share of new development units in Manhattan. During the quarter, the share of new development units dropped from 21.6 percent to 16 percent on a year-on-year basis.

To get a better sense of the state of the borough’s housing market, Miller pointed to two metrics. “The real state of the market, in my view, is the re-sale market right now. So much of the new development data is based on contracts that were signed years ago that are closing now,” he said.

The median sales price for the segment stayed flat for the quarter at $950,000 while the average price in the resale market rose 3.2 percent to $1,586,247.

The number of closed sales in the category rose by 7.7 percent to 2,429. Meanwhile, homes took longer to sell, with days on the market increasing by 16 percent to 90 days.

According to Miller, another significant statistic was the increase in listing discounts. Listing discounts, which is defined as the difference between the asking price at the time of sale and the sale price, doubled to 4.2 percent compared to the same period a year ago.

“You know, the stock market after the elections, there was the Trump bump with a positive outlook over the year. Buyers are re-energized and are going to be more willing to meet the seller halfway. But in reality, that’s not what’s happening,” he said.

“We see across all the markets, the listing discount over the last year has expanded. And the spread is widening. It’s widening because sellers are beating the buyers at the market. Buyers have not been willing to come up. The sellers are travelling a lot farther on the price to make the sale happen.”

For bargain-hunters, the best deals are three-bedroom apartments, which dropped 10.1 percent to a median price of $3.15 million, and two-bedrooms, which posted a 4.2 percent decline.

The Manhattan market posted gains on average sales price and the average price per square foot. During the quarter, the average sales price for a Manhattan home rose 2.6 percent year-on-year to $2,104,350. The average price per square foot also increased in the borough, rising by 3.8 percent to $1,778.

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