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Three Cents Worth: Square Feet On The Other Foot

[Nothing like a little early morning data analysis! Graph wizard Jonathan Miller slices and dices square footage this week with a blur of bars and lines. Don't worry, it will all become clear in a minute. Click on the image to expand.]

I am going to make the same mistake twice by charting four data points, so would-be Anonymous #3 please hear me out before you hit the comments. I included 4 data points this week (2 pairs, actually) by looking at square footage of the residential co-op and condo markets in two different ways: total square footage sold and average square footage per apartment. This is similar to the way the commercial real estate market has traditionally presented the market in terms of square footage (i.e., square footage leased and vacant).

Chart Bars: I totaled the square footage of units sold each quarter and broke it out by co-ops and condos. This is an attempt to compare the relative size of the co-op market side by side with the condo market. Of course this doesn't take into consideration the shift in the mix of apartments that sell but it does give a sense of the size of market in relative terms.

Chart Lines: At the same time, I averaged the square footage of all sales of co-ops and condos for each quarter. Apartments are generally smaller today than they were a few years ago and co-ops are roughly 200 square feet smaller than condos, on average.

The charts seem to indicate that condos are selling well now, reaching their second highest square footage total in three years, but sales had previously fallen off quite a bit in the second half of 2005. Co-ops have a total number of square footage that is well below the same period 3 years ago which is more of a function of the smaller number of co-op sales than a shift in mix. Total condo square footage sold has generally trended upward for two years with the exception of the second half of 2005. During this same period, co-op square footage generally trended downward.

The recent quarter saw more condo square footage transfer than co-op square footage, the first time in more than three years this has occurred. At this pace, it's simply a matter of time before condos wear the shoes that co-ops had for so long.
· Total Sq Footage of Units and Avg Sq Ft Sold [Miller Samuel]