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Co-op/condo market continues strong performance.

As sales activity strengthened even in neighborhoods hardest hit by the recent recession, co-op apartment prices continued to rise during the second quarter of 1995, according to figures published by the Real Estate Board of New York in its quarterly Cooperative Sales Report.

As has been the case recently, most co-op sales that took place during the quarter occurred in the $200,000-to-$300,000 range, reflecting the diminishing number of large cooperative units coming to market. A total of 491 transactions were reported to the Board.

The Real Estate Board Cooperative Sales Report is the only fully documented survey of the city's co-op housing market, a sector whose transactions are not publicly recorded. The report pools and analyzes confidential sales and data supplied monthly by over 20 REBNY member firms. The complete findings, distributed exclusively to those firms, help brokers assist their clients in setting realistic offering or sale prices.

According to REBNY Executive Vice President Deborah Beck, the median price per room for studio and one-bedroom apartments climbed to $55,429 during the second quarter compared to $48,286 for the comparable period a year earlier. Similar increases were recorded in larger units as well - two bedroom residences rose from $81,250 in 1994 to $85,556; three-bedroom apartments increased from $108,417 to $113,571; and four-bedrooms and larger units increased to $187,500 from $179,639.

"The co-op market is definitely regaining its health and vitality," noted Beck. "Sales activity is not only stronger but units are selling faster than before, thanks, in part, to attractive interest rates and a shortage of rental units."

Here's how recent trends play out in REBNY's Second Quarter statistics:

* The median price per room for East Side pre-war coop units dropped to $108,833 during the second quarter from $116,875 during the comparable period in 1994. The decline was attributable not to a loss in market value, but to a preponderance of smaller, less expensive apartments being sold. In 1994, almost half the East Side prewar units sold (49 percent) contained three or more bedrooms. This year, only slightly more than a third (35 percent) of such apartments transferred were that large.

* East Side post-war buildings continued to show considerable appeal and similar stability in value with the median price per room remaining essentially unchanged during the second quarter.

* The median price per room for West Side pre-war units also declined in the second quarter, falling from $83,250 in 1994 to $67,778 this year. This shift was attributable to a higher percentage of reported sales off of Central Park West.

In 1994, 30 percent of these transactions involved apartments on Central Park West, the area's most choice location. In this year's second quarter sample, only 17 percent of units sold were in those buildings.

* The trend toward faster sales was most pronounced on the East Side, where the time needed to sell co-ops of both pre- and post-war vintages hovered around a three-year low. The time it took to sell East Side pre-war units slipped from 7.7 months during last year's second quarter to 7.3 months this year. East Side post-war apartments took almost two months less to sell than they did in 1994's second quarter - 7.4 months, down from nine months last year. On the West Side, the selling time for prewar units continued to linger around the six-month mark for the fourth consecutive quarter.

* Finally, the demand for large apartments, sharpened somewhat by their relatively short supply, made these units sell significantly faster during the second quarter than they did a year earlier. On average, units with four or more bedrooms sold three months sooner than they did in 1994.

Luxury Apartment Prices Soar

With Summer sales heating up, purchase prices of luxury Manhattan co-ops and condominiums soared by 5.1 percent in July, with the average cost of an apartment jumping from $81,350 to $85,565 a room. A year ago, the Corcoran Price Index was $79,648 per room.

So reports the August issue of The Corcoran Market Update, a monthly survey highlighting fast breaking trends in the New York co-op and condominium marketplace prepared by the Corcoran Group, a leading Manhattan-based real estate firm specializing in luxury residential sales.

Based on the data from listings and completed purchases that took place during the preceding 30-day period, The Corcoran Market Update reported a broad mix of asking prices by unit size for the 8,158 luxury apartments it tracked citywide last month.

For example, average asking prices for one-bedroom apartments fell by .5 percent to $220,066, while three-bedroom units surged by 5.8 percent to $1,185,575. Overall, average asking prices for all units rose by 1.8 percent to $514,817.

"The recent perception in the marketplace has been that prices were about to take off," asserted Barbara Corcoran, president of the Corcoran Group. "It appears that prophecy has turned into reality."

Among other findings reported in the latest Corcoran Market Update were:

* Buyers were able to negotiate asking prices down by only 14.6 percent during July compared to 15 percent during the same period in 1994.

* The average listing time for apartment sales during the month was 24 weeks compared to 27 weeks a year earlier.

* Average asking prices continued to vary dramatically by location. The price per room of a Fifth Avenue luxury residence (above 60th Street), for example, was $227,647 compared to $194,743 on Park Avenue and $64,655 on West End Avenue.

* The average luxury co-op/condo buyer last month was 38 years old, had an average income of $300,000 and made a purchase of $330,000.

Across-The-Board Dip In Fixed Rate

After vacillating back and forth for most of the month, interest rates for New York luxury co-ops and condominiums finished slightly on the downside in July.

So reports The Manhattan Mortgage Company, a leading specialist in co-op, condominium and private home residential financing, which surveys and analyzes New York mortgage rates and borrower preferences on a monthly basis.

According to its July report, which is based on data from 10 major lending institutions, all serving the New York residential marketplace, rates dipped for all four of the leading fixed-rate mortgages as well as two of the three most popular adjustable-rate loans.

In the fixed-rate category, 10-year and 15-year fixed-rate mortgages dropped to 7.375 percent from 7.5 percent, while 30-year mortgages dipped from 8 percent to 7.875 percent. Seven-year loans decreased from 7.375 to 7.25 percent.

In the adjustable mortgage category, one-year adjustables held at 5.875 percent, while three-year adjustable averages fell from 7 to 6.875 percent and five-year adjustables dropped from 7.125 to 7 percent.

According to Ellen Bitton, co-founder of the Manhattan Mortgage Company, while there were strong fears in July of a significant economic slowdown, rates eventually fell because of the surprise rally in the bond market.

"And that helped keep mortgage applications running well ahead of last year's pace," she added.

In terms of loan preferences, The Manhattan Mortgage Company survey reported that only 10 percent of co-op/condominium borrowers chose one-year adjustable rate mortgages in July, while three-year fixed-rate mortgages accounted for 30 percent of the marketplace.
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Title Annotation:cooperative apartment houses and condominiums in New York City
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:Sep 6, 1995
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