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Brokerages Turn in Homework for the Semester

Big Real Estate's fourth quarter sales reports are out, and while the Ellimans and the Corcorans and the Halsteads disagree on exact percentages and the like, they all pretty much agree that prices kinda sorta dipped a little in some areas, but the backlog of inventory got cleared out a bunch. Here's some brief excerpts from the papers' accounts of the reports:

1) Times: “It shows us that we hit the soft landing that a lot of people were hoping for,” said Gregory J. Heym, an economist who prepared market studies for two brokerage firms, Brown Harris Stevens and Halstead Property.
2) Sun: "Real estate analysts say 2006 represented a downshift in price appreciation from 2004 and 2005, but they characterize it as a 'soft landing,' far more tame than the downturn faced by the national housing market, or the 'bubble burst' that some feared for New York City."
3) AMNY: "Sales prices of Manhattan co-op and condominium sales rose modestly in the closing months of 2006, a sign that the city's real estate market is experiencing a soft landing after years of frenzy."

You could read all those stories and put yourself to sleep, but you could also check after the jump for our market guru Jonathan Miller's highlights of the Miller-Samuel report for Prudential Douglas Elliman, broken down into small little bites for easy chewing and digestion. Painless!

*Highlights:*
/Overall Manhattan Market [includes entire island]/ For the final quarter of 2006, prices continued to show some weakness while at the same time, the number of sales jumped and inventory dropped sharply.

Price indicators dropped about 5% from the prior quarter, but remained at similar or as much as 5% above the same period last year. At the same time, listing inventory fell 22.2% from the prior year quarter and the number of sales jumped 15.5%. Falling mortgage rates over the period as well as an improved local economic outlook played a role in the improvements although the release of co-ops into public record somewhat tempered the gain in the number of sales.

While the number of days it took to sell remained relatively unchanged at 149 days from last quarter's 150, the average listing discount or negotiability dropped to 2.8%. The drop indicates a continuing trend of seller's becoming more realistic in setting prices rather than indicating that seller's were becoming more resistant to negotiating.

-The average sales price increased 3.2% to $1,224,840 over the prior year quarter average of $1,187,404 (5% below the prior quarter of $1,288,748).
-The average price per square foot fell 0.4% to $998 over the prior year quarter result of $1,002 (5% below the prior quarter result of $1,050).
-The median sales price increased 5.1% to $799,000 over the prior year quarter median of $760,000 (5.5% below prior quarter median of $845.147).

Studios showed the most gain in market share this quarter; the downtown and uptown markets posted gains in average price per square foot.

/Co-op Market/

-The average sales price of a co-op this quarter was $1,047,219, up 2.7% from last year at this time but down 3.8% from the prior quarter. Median sales price showed a similar pattern while average price per square foot fell from both the prior quarter and prior year quarter figures.

-Inventory levels for co-ops fell 10.7% to 3,054 units as compared to the prior year quarter total of 3,421 units. Co-op listings are comprised of nearly all re-sales, with limited new co-op development added to the housing stock.

/Condo Market/

-The average sales price of a condo this quarter was $1,486,057 this quarter, up 7.5% from last year at this time but down 1% from the prior quarter. Median sales price showed a similar pattern but more exaggerated while average price per square foot increased from the prior quarter and prior year quarter figures.

-Inventory levels for condos totaled 2,880 units, up 13.3% from the prior year quarter total of 2,543 units. The gain in inventory is primarily attributable to new development, but the general pace of growth appears to be easing.

/Luxury Market (upper 10% of all co-op and condo sales)/

-The luxury apartment market showed 3-6% price gains this year with an average sales price of $4,324,189 but was down 1-3% from the prior quarter. The other price indicators showed similar patterns. The average days on market fell by 10 days to 151 and the average listing
discount was 3.6% down from the prior quarter average of 4%.

/Loft Market (co-op and condo sales)/

-The loft market saw a similar price pattern as the overall market. The average sales price was $1,847,508, up 11.9% over the same period last year but down 6.4% from the prior quarter.