Year-end numbers give hope for cautious optimism

For the first time since the market collapsed in late 2008, sales activity and inventory in Manhattan stand at near normal levels, according to market reports compiled by Crain’s and others.

Among the highlights was a continued increase in sales toward the end of 2009 to 2,473, up 8.4 percent from the same period a year ago and 10.9 percent from the previous quarter, according to a report by appraisal firm Miller-Samuel.

Inventory continued to drop, with 6,851 listed units, down 24.6 percent from the end of 2008 and slightly below the 10-year average of 7,094 units.

Median sales prices were down 10 percent, to $810,000, from the same period last year and 4.7 percent from the third quarter of 2009.  The median was off 21 percent from the peak of $1.025 million in the second quarter of 2008.

As for the less telling average sale price, it fell 24.8 percent to nearly $1.3 million from the peak of $1.72 million in the first quarter of 2008.

Click on the chart to see it and many more from Miller-Samuel.

Commented Dottie Herman, CEO of Prudential Douglas Elliman, for which Miller-Samuel prepares its report:

“The last quarter, which is traditionally slow, was very active, and that will continue through the first quarter.”

Added Pamela Liebman, CEO of the Corcoran Group:

“By the time we hit the end of the year, there was a comfort zone.  Sellers got real with prices.  Buyers realized there is opportunity out there, and confidence has increased.”

To see the reports, click here for Corcoran’s, here for Prudential Douglas Elliman’s, here for Halstead’s and here for Brown Harris Stevens’s.

That leaves us with the usual question: Will past be precedent?  I do continue to think it will be.  Whether I’m just cockeyed or just an optimist remains to be seen.

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Malcolm Carter
Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker
Senior Vice President
Charles Rutenberg Realty
127 E. 56th Street
New York, NY 10022

M: 347-886-0248
F: 347-438-3201
Web site

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