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Curbed Roundtable: July State O' the Market Report

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Summer doldrums be damned, it's friggin' market report day, people! We're talking Q2 this time around, and the results should surprise no one. Just like the first quarter of 2008, prices are at record levels but sales are down from this time last year. Miller Samuel's report for Elliman has the average Manhattan sales price at $1,669,729, a 25.2% increase over the prior year quarter result of $1,333,316. Gregory Heym's Halstead/Brown Harris Stevens report has the average at $1,663,533, a 36% increase over his numbers in Q2 2007. Of course we can't forget the asterisk, and indeed both reports cite closings at 15 Central Park West and the Plaza for driving up averages. Imagine what those $80-$100 million 15 CPW apartments will do to the numbers if they sell! Interestingly, on a quarter-to-quarter basis, both of these averages are down from their respective Q1 reports. That's not as crazy as it sounds, though. According to Miller Samuel research, there was a 5% decline in average sales price from the third to fourth quarter of 2006. Without 15 CPW and the Plaza included, the average sales price would still be above the 2007 levels by double digits.
Median: When it comes to median sales price, fairly immune to the comings and goings of 15 CPW and the Plaza, the numbers are still encouraging for the industry. Halstead/BHS has it at a new record of $979,000, up 23% from a year ago. Elliman also has the median price at a record, reporting a 14.5% increase to a whopping $1,025,000. Condos, lofts and co-ops all saw big gains, but if you want an indicator on how insane the luxury market is right now, Elliman has the median sales price of luxury apartments?the top 10% of all apartments sold?at $4,950,000, up 37.5% from Q2 2007. Holy.

Sales & Inventory: And now it's time for the bad news. Just like in Q1, there is concern about sales volume, time spent on the market, inventory, etc. The luxury market continues its blistering pace, but the Times' Josh Barbanel notes the weakening of studios and one-bedroom apartments, where people need mortgages and crap. According to Jonathan Miller's Elliman report, the number of sales dropped nearly 22% over the prior year quarter, to 3,081 units. Listing inventory increased 31.2% to 6,869 units, and days spent on the market was 135 this quarter, two weeks longer than last year (though Halstead/BHS had it at 90 days). The number of sales was up from this time two years ago, however. Barbanel reports that Corcoran has the inventory of unsold apartments at 9,968, up 21% from last year. It may be time to toss around the f-word: Flat.

Best Quote: Corcoran CEO Pam Liebman nearly bags the title with this one-liner in the Times: "It is still a party, we are just not serving Cristal." But don't pop the Veuve Clicquot just yet, Pam, because we also heard from Dolly Lenz?no fan of these market reports, by the way?and her analysis for the Post's Braden Keil is both spot-on and absolutely amazing: "There's simply a shortage of unaffordable housing." Damn right. Let them eat cake!

So, those are the numbers. Let's get into the analysis! Tee off, people.
· Manhattan Overview Q2-2008 [Elliman]
· Manhattan Sales Report: Second Quarter 2008 [Halstead]