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Market Reports: Prices Up, Sales Down, Worry Prevalent!

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Given the turbulent series of events over the past few weeks, the third-quarter market reports?released by the major brokerages today?probably will be forgotten fairly quickly. "A lot of the data isn't relevant anymore," Jonathan Miller, who prepared Prudential Douglas Elliman's report, told us last night (more on that later). But even if the sales figures from July-September don't tell us much in light of current conditions, we still have to have a look, don't we? The average price for a Manhattan apartment is now nearly $1.5 million. Much like in recent quarters, prices are higher than this time last year, and sales are down. Elliman, Halstead/Brown Harris Stevens and Corcoran all report that average sales price, median sales price and price-per-square-foot made nice gains from last year, but fell from last quarter (Corcoran actually had a flat median compared to last quarter). The fall in prices from last quarter is a combination of factors: the usual slip in prices between the spring and summer, the credit crunch starting to show its teeth, and the slowdown in closings at 15 Central Park West and The Plaza. With inventory up, sales down and Wall Street in a state of flux, there will be grim headlines in the press, certainly.

Average sales price
Elliman: $1,480,363 (up 8.1% from last year, down 11.3% from Q2)
Halstead/BHS: $1,473,351 (up 12% from last year, down 11% from Q2)
Corcoran: $1,455,000 (up 2% from last year, down 13% from Q2)

Median sales price
Elliman: $928,263 (up 7.4% from last year, down 9.4% from Q2)
Halstead/BHS: $910,000 (up 12% from last year, down 7.0% from Q2)
Corcoran: $975,000 (up 10% from last year, no change from Q2)

Price per square foot
Elliman: $1,193 (up 4.3% from last year, down 5.5% from Q2)
Halstead/BHS: $1,184 (up 5.6% from last year, down 5.4% from Q2)
Corcoran: $1,180 (up 6% from last year, down 6% from Q2)

Number of sales
Elliman: 2,654 units (down 24.1% from last year, down 13.9% from Q2)
Halstead/BHS: "decreased by 14%" compared to last year"

Listing inventory
Elliman: 7,003 units (up 34.6% from last year, up 2% from Q2)

Days spent on the market
Elliman: 134 days (11 days longer than last year, 1 day less than Q2)
Halstead/BHS: 91 days (5 days longer than last year, 1 day more than Q2)

Discount from listing price to closing price
Elliman: 2.6% (up from 2% last year, down from 3.6% in Q2)
Halstead/BHS: 2.8% (up from 2.2% last year, and 2.5% in Q2)

And there we have it. Let the spin begin!
· Elliman Manhattan Market Overview 3Q 2008 Teaser Spreadsheet [PDF; full report coming later today]
· Halstead Quarterly Market Report, Third Quarter 2008 [PDF]
· The Corcoran Report: 3rd Quarter 2008 [PDF]