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Condo sales volume increases as prices climb.

Both sales volume and prices continued to increase in Manhattan's condominium market during this year's second quarter, according to figures published by the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) in its Second Quarter 1998 Manhattan Condominium and Townhouse Sales Report.

Total sales surged to 1,109 from 766 recorded transfers during the same period last year, with both the pre- and post-war condominium sectors posting strong gains at the half-year mark. In the pre-war market, 269 sales were recorded, a 24 percent jump over the 218 sales recorded at the same time last year. In the post-war market, sales activity soared, with 840 second quarter transactions consummated compared to 548 during the same period last year.

Significantly, the increased sales activity occurred against a backdrop of rising condominium prices. In the post-war market, the median price per square foot rose from $316 one year ago to $347, a 10 percent gain. In the pre-war market, the median price per square foot rose from $305 to $324, a 6 percent increase.

Deborah Beck, REBNY executive vice president, noted that the surge in sales activity embraced all geographic submarkets. "We saw many condo transfers in ali our surveyed markets," she noted, adding that East Side second quarter sales rose from 258 to 348, West Side sales climbed from 247 to 353, and Downtown sales increased from 257 to 389.

Much of the sales activity involved small units, said Hall Willkie, chairman of REBNY's Residential Brokerage Research Committee. "While all sectors of the market are performing well, demand this quarter was strongest for smaller condominiums," he observed. He also pointed out that in the post-war market, studio sales accounted for most of the transfers. Sales for condos with 650 square feet or less almost doubled to 241 from the 128 transactions posted during the same period last year. Sales of pre-war units with 850 square feet or less climbed from 58 last year to 111.

"The trend toward more transfers of smaller units was evident across geographic submarkets," Beck said. "Our data showed that the East Side, West Side and Downtown regions all witnessed a decline in the median size of condominiums sold."

East Side data revealed that the median apartment size dropped 100 square feet, from 998 last year at this time, to the current figure of 898. On the West Side, the decline was from 894 square feet last year to 1998's second quarter median figure of 828. The most precipitous drop occurred Downtown, where the median size plummeted more than 200 square feet, from 1997's 980 square-foot figure to the second quarter's 764 square feet.

Other noteworthy trends revealed in REBNY's second quarter report include:

* East Side: Only the East Side's pre-war market witnessed a price decline, as its median price per square foot dropped from $374 a year ago to $301. Condos with 650 square feet or less, which accounted for 29 percent of sales, registered a median price decline of 16 percent. The post-war market saw large price increases and greater sales volume. The number of transfers jumped 54 percent from a year ago, to 313, while the median price per square foot increased 8 percent to $375. Prices and sales activity were up for all unit sizes.

* West Side: In the pre-war market, the number of sales more than doubled, rising from 47 last year to 107. The median price per square foot was 6 percent higher than last year's figure. Post-war market activity swelled as well, with the median price per square foot rising 15 percent from last year, as 46 more transfers were consummated than during the comparable period last year.

* Downtown: Post-war sales activity was double last year's volume, as 281 transfers were completed. The median price per square foot rose 6 percent. Units between 1,001 and 1,500 square feet showed great appeal, with a median price increase of 18 percent. In the pre-war market, the median price rose significantly, up from $283 per square foot last year to $371. Sales volume slipped 4 percent during the comparable period a year ago.

The Real Estate Board's Quarterly Condominium and Townhouse Sales Report analyzes open market data and is distributed exclusively to firms participating in the Board's Cooperative Sales Report. This information helps brokers assist their clients in setting realistic offering or sales prices.
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Manhattan, New York, New York
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Article Type:Statistical Data Included
Geographic Code:1U2NY
Date:Nov 18, 1998
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