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Three Cents Worth: Manhattan, Well-Seasoned

[This week, market analyst Jonathan Miller explores the seasonality of the Manhattan real estate market, tracking the average percent change over the prior quarter in the number of the sales (red) and the median sales price (blue). Roughly translated: Q1 (Winter); Q2 (Spring); Q3 (Summer); Q4 (Fall). The data runs 16 years from 2Q 1990 to 2Q 2006. The full rundown below. Click on the image to expand.]

The second quarter of a typical year—the proverbial Spring Market—tends to see the most price appreciation and gains in the number of sales. Median sales price (the middle number of all sorted sales prices for the period) shows the most gains in the first half of the year. Even more interesting is the fact that a decline in this indicator was seen for the second half of a typical year, in both the third and fourth quarters. Of course, a portion of the changes can be attributable to the shift in the mix of what was sold.

(An idea for a future chart might be looking at the mix of units that were sold over a given quarter over the same period. I'll bet more large units sell in the first half the year, as a result of bonus moneys paid out.)

Number of sales (closed sales collected by the end of the period) shows a sharp drop off in the 4th quarter with the remaining periods seeing increases. Like median sales price, the 2nd quarter sees the greatest gains in the number of sales.

In other words, as much as Manhattan is real estate crazy, its patterns are seasonal.
· Manhattan Co-Ops/Condos Avg % Change from Prior Quarter [Miller Samuel]