Manhattan housing prices edge up, but sales slow

By Lauren Elkies | July 01, 2008 11:36PM

It’s hard to believe New York City is in a slump when Manhattan real estate prices continue to climb, reaching record-breaking numbers. But the drop in the volume of sales makes the whole picture look grimmer.

In the second quarter, today’s report prepared by Miller Samuel for Prudential Douglas Elliman indicated the median sale price in Manhattan hit a record $1.025 million. The average price per square foot of a co-op reached a record $1,146 and the median condo sales price topped out at $1.267 million.

Furthermore, all price categories for the co-op, condo, luxury and loft markets increased quarter-over-quarter, except for the average sales price of a loft, the data show.

While prices jumped, sales volume dropped and inventory grew. According to Miller Samuel, in the second quarter the number of sales dropped a sharp 21.8 percent from the prior year quarter to 3,081, and listing inventory surged 31.2 percent to 6,869 units over the same period last year.

Many real estate experts attribute the price growth to the strength of the high-end sales market, especially the new trophy properties at 15 Central Park West and The Plaza Hotel.

“The limited supply of high end properties is fueling the strong demand for luxury apartments,” said Hall Willkie, president of Brown Harris Stevens, which released a report with another Terra Holdings firm, Halstead Property. At the same time, he noted, more new developments are coming online.

Reports from Terra Holdings and also the Corcoran Group, which partnered with PropertyShark for the first time for its data crunching, generally show similar pricing trends in Manhattan.

Corcoran-PropertyShark found the number of sales dropped a greater 38 percent. [NYT]