The Big Apple: Signs of stability evident in Q2

Luxury market boosts second quarter sales, prices

After a slight drop in prices at the beginning of the year, the Manhattan real estate market has stabilized in the last three months, with prices rising slightly and sales volume increasing with an expected spring surge in home buying.

Today’s second-quarter sales reports released by the city’s largest brokerage firms show that the increase in the average sale price was largely attributable to more robust sales of larger and more expensive apartments, while studio and one-bedroom sales lagged slightly.

Still, with question marks on employment and the limited availability of credit to homebuyers, there were few predictions of a major upturn in the Manhattan market.

The big sore spot in the market was the median sales price of new developments, which plunged 15.7 percent from last quarter and 19 percent from the year before, to $1.13 million.

Appraisal executive Jonathan Miller said the result was consistent the average sale in a new development being approximately 15 percent smaller in physical size than previous quarters. Because the smaller units require buyers to borrow less and have price points that qualify for special loans, they dominated the market, according to Miller.

Not a strong trend, but buyers are plunking down deposits based only on floor plans in new buildings

When the real estate market was booming, buyers routinely signed contracts for apartments in yet-to-be-built buildings, making their decisions based on little more than an artist’s rendering and a miniature model of their new home.

That changed once the market crashed, the New York Times observes.

Off-site showrooms disappeared, and buyers became deeply skeptical about floor plans and fancy brochures. Developers realized that buyers would no longer buy a home without first running a hand along a kitchen counter and standing by a window to take in the views.

In recent months, though, Continue reading

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The Big Apple: Rents up, condo owners sinking

Luxury markets pulls up Q2 average price, though volume declines

Overall sales volume of condominiums and cooperative apartments in Manhattan has been off about 11 percent so far in the second quarter compared with same period last year, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of the city’s data.

A year ago, the market was bouncing back strongly from the after-effects of the financial crisis.

Prices have remained flat. Data on closings show that median prices in the second quarter were 1.2 percent below prices during the year-earlier period, while average prices rose by 1.5 percent.

The average price for a Manhattan apartment was about $1.39 million in the latest period. The figures are based on closings filed with the city as of 15 days before the end of each quarter.

Russians are invading Continue reading

The Big Apple: City’s estate auction is a dud

Undercounted immigrants may explain smaller population than believed

New York City’s population reached a record high for a 10-year census of 8,175,133, according to the 2010 count released on Thursday, but it fell far short of the official forecast.

Mayor Bloomberg immediately challenged the Census Bureau’s finding, saying it shortchanged the city by as many as 225,000 people.

He said it was “inconceivable” that Queens grew by only 1,343 people since 2000 and suggested that the profusion of apartments listed as vacant in places such as Flushing and in a swath of southwest Brooklyn meant the census missed many hard-to-count immigrants.

There’s something about Inez Dickens and her taxes

City Councilwoman Inez Dickens co-owns four Harlem apartment buildings that have for months owed the city more than $100,000 in property taxes.

Dickens’ properties also Continue reading