By Al Barbarino
A string of third quarter reports show only slight declines in Manhattan’s residential pricing and a huge boost in sales activity, despite the lowest inventory in more than seven years.
The average Manhattan apartment sale price of $1,377,630 was down 4 percent from the same period in 2011, but at 2,790, the number of closings was at the highest level in four years, according to a report from Brown Harris Stevens.
“Although there has been a sharp decline in inventory, it is a healthy sign that there were more sales in the third quarter of this year than in any quarter since the collapse of Lehman Brothers,” said Hall. F. Wilkie, president of Brown Harris Stevens Residential Sales, calling the statistic “promising” when “combined with record low interest rates and strong demand from both local and international buyers.”
A report from StreetEasy.com shows that the volume of closings jumped 16.6 percent from last year and by 10.0 percent from last quarter.
Meanwhile, the Elliman Report shows that inventory (at 5,847) fell 24.3 percent from last year to lowest level in 7.5 years, attributing the declines to low equity that’s keeping many sellers from listing, coupled with “election year paralysis” and concern about the direction of the national economy.
“Inventory hit a seven-year low which fueled aggressive sales competition among buyers,” a report from The Corcoran Group stated, as “bidding wars and multiple offers became a market norm.”
According to Corcoran’s Third Quarter Survey, 48 percent of agents surveyed were involved in a bidding war and multiple bid situations.
Foreign buyers were a continued presence at the high end, “as Manhattan remains a financial safe haven and real estate a preferred asset diversification vehicle for many international buyers and investors,” the report stated.
Median sales price declined 2.3 percent to $890,000; price per square foot declined 2.4 percent, to $1,103; and average sales prices declined 1.4 percent, to $1,444,463, according to the Elliman Report, which attributed the year-over-year dip in price indicators to the rise in one-bedroom sales pulling the overall numbers down.
The condo and loft markets performed strongest, with median condo sales prices increasing 10.3 percent to $1,158,500; and the median loft sales price increasing 23.1 percent to $2 million, according to the Elliman Report. There were three sales over $20 million in the third quarter, while last year there were seven, and sales over $5 million fell 12 percent from the third quarter of last year, the report from Brown Harris Stevens shows.