After a year of declines in Manhattan co-op and condominium sales, the residential market has perked up enough for real estate appraisers and brokers at least to debate the question on the minds of many New Yorkers: Has the market reached a bottom yet?
Market reports released today showed that during this year’s third quarter, July through September, the number of sales rose steeply from the second quarter, but remained below the levels of last year’s third quarter, according to the New York Times.
Sale prices moved roughly sideways, with some up and some down, compared with those in the second quarter, though the prices of loft apartments and new condominiums continued to fall, according to third-quarter data.
A report by one broker, Prudential Douglas Elliman, said the number of sales was up 45.6 percent from the second quarter, but down 16 percent from the third quarter of last year. It put the average co-op and condo apartment sale price at $1.32 million, off 10.6 percent from the same quarter in 2008, but up 0.8 percent from the second quarter. Co-op prices were down 5.9 percent from the previous quarter, while condominium prices were up 3 percent.
Jonathan Miller, an appraiser who, as the president of Miller Samuel, prepares the market report for Prudential Douglas Elliman, said that while the Manhattan housing market may be improving in some ways, it had “not yet found a bottom.”
Miller cited high local unemployment, tight credit and a “shadow inventory” of new condominiums not officially listed on the market as reasons for pessimism. On the other hand, he noted, sales have picked up and the number of owners listing apartments is falling.
I’ll take any news of this sort as promising, but I agree that the future is uncertain. Whether the bottom is here can reasonably be debated, but I don’t see prices falling more than 10 percent. At the same time, I do see monthly housing costs inevitably going up as mortgage interest rates increase, inevitably.
In other words, I believe a rise in interest rates will offset any decrease in prices. You can decide yourself by reading the trove of housing market and mortgage news in my free bi-weekly e-newsletter as well as a blog of the Wall Street Journal.
Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker
Senior Vice President
Charles Rutenberg Realty
127 E. 56th Street
New York, NY 10022