The Big Apple: Prices, sales slip in 1st quarter

Weakness emerges in Manhattan market during first quarter

Reports issued today showed price declines as much as 23 percent from the same time last year, according to the New York Times.

One of the reports, prepared by the Miller Samuel appraisal firm, had the median sale price down by 9.9 percent to $782,071. According to that document, a new index of sales that have yet to close recorded a 7.1 percent increase over the same time last year, suggesting an upswing in the current quarter.

Explanations for the dip included the artificial bump caused last year by the federal homebuyer tax credit and a boost this year in the sales of co-ops, which are generally less expensive than condos, as the result of a crimp in condo inventory.

As Noah Rosenblatt, a blogger, broker and data provider, points out on, the figures on which the reports are based are flawed because of the way they are gathered.

Says he: “. . . you MUST understand that you are seeing an incomplete report with a ton of Q1 sales not yet publicly released! Especially March, whose sales will continue roll in over the course of the next 4-8 weeks. . .”

Price of studios suggests it’s a good time to buy one

The studio market has gone soft again–just as it did in the last recession, says the New York Times.

Prices have dipped to 2005 levels, making it possible to find studios in Manhattan in the $200,000s–lots of them. And they don’t all face a brick wall or involve a lengthy hike to the subway.

The average price for studios dropped to $404,326 in 2010 from a high of $500,479 in 2008.

A recent search of Manhattan listings on the Times real estate site and on found close to 200 studios available for $300,000 or less. An article about studios in The Times in 2009, before the market had bottomed out, found only a handful of studios in that price range.

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