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Median Manhattan condo prices top $400 psf barrier.

Median prices for both pre- and post-war Manhattan condominiums exceeded the $400 per square foot mark in this year's second quarter, the highest figures recorded since the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) began tracking the market four years ago, a according to REBNY's Second Quarter 1999 Manhattan Condominium and Townhouse Sales Report.

REBNY Executive Vice President Deborah Beck observed that the median price per square foot reached $424 in the pre-war market, a startling 31 percent gain over last year's figure of $324. The post-war market, meanwhile, attained a median per square foot price of $407 in a 17 percent climb from the $34 price recorded a year ago.

Hall Willkie, executive vice president of Brown, Harri, Stevens and chairperson of REBNY's Residential Research Committee, noted that while pre- and post-war median prices had risen substantially, average prices where even more impressive.

"The median or middle price, which offers the most objective view of the market, does not reflect the extraordinary high-end sales activity currently dominating the market," Willkie said. "We have seen apartments in new luxury buildings with closing prices approaching $3,000 a square foot."

Against the backdrop of surging prices, sales volume remained virtually unchanged, Beck pointed but, with 1,097 total sales tabulated in the second quarter, and 1,109 recorded this time last year.

"With sales holding steady as prices reach new heights, the condominium market remains remarkably strong,". said Beck.

In the pre-war market, total transfers fell from 274 in 1998's second quarter to 241, largely because of a drop in the number of sales of condos of 1,000 square feet or less. This decline was offset somewhat by the increase in sales of post-war units, where transfers were up from 845 a year ago to 856 during this year's second quarter.

The price upswing swept all geographic submarkets, noted Willkie. The West Side pre-war market registered the biggest gain, with the median price jumping 32 percent, from $322 per square foot a year ago to $425. Here, condos with between 651 and 850 square feet - accounting for 22 percent of the total sales - enjoyed the largest increases, as prices rose 40 percent to $448 per square foot.

The West Side's post-war market prospered too, Willkie added, with the median price per square foot rising from $380 to $427. Sales volume increased significantly in this market as well, with transfers jumping 28 percent from 246 a year ago to 316.

While the East Side pre-war market reported only 32 sales during the quarter, its median price surged 27 percent to $383 per square foot. This increase was fueled by a stunning 35 percent jump in prices for condos of 650 square feet or less, which rose to a median per square foot figure of $346 from $256 a year ago. The post-war market saw a nine percent median price increase to $407 per square foot and an eight percent decline in sales volume during the quarter.

In Downtown's pre-war market, the median price rose from $371 per square foot a year ago to $437. An increase in the median size of units sold contributed to the gain, as did a 46 percent rise in the median price of apartments of 650 square feet or less.

In the post-war market, prices surged 25 percent to $391, thanks largely to more sales of larger units and a commensurate drop in the number of sales of smaller units with 1,000 square feet or less.

The median size of apartments sold dipped very slightly in the East Side and West Side markets, but rose significantly Downtown. On the East Side, the median size slipped from 898 square feet a year ago to 886 square feet, and on the West Side, from 828 to 820 square feet during the same period. Downtown, the median size jumped from 764 square feet a year ago to 863 square feet.

The geographical distribution of sales volume shifted only marginally during the second quarter. The East Side, which accounted for 31.4 percent of the total sales volume last year during the same period, dipped slightly to 29. 1 percent; Downtown slid from 35.1 percent to 31.6 percent; the West Side was up from 31.8 percent to 38.7 percent; and Northern Manhattan, which represented 1.7 percent of the total sales activity a year ago, dropped to a 0.6 percent share.

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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Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Article Type:Statistical Data Included
Geographic Code:1U2NY
Date:Oct 20, 1999
Words:778
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