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Market Reports: Manhattan Free Fall May Be Over

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A month of pep talks about the rebound of the Manhattan market have led to this: The release of the major brokerages' third-quarter market reports. So, was all the good cheer warranted? Maybe! We direct your attention to the two graphs above. At the tippy top is Prudential Douglas Elliman's artistic interpretation of average Manhattan sales prices, by quarter. Please note that the sky has stopped falling. Elliman's report, prepared by Curbed graph guru Jonathan Miller (more from JMillz later) actually showed a tiny little increase in average price from last quarter. Corcoran reported an 11% decrease from Q2, and the Halstead/Brown Harris Stevens numbers were pretty much flat. The takeaway: If Manhattan prices are still falling, the pace has slowed dramatically. For now. We don't like wagering against unemployment, tight lending rules and shadow inventory.

The second graph is what the cheerleaders will really be championing: It's from Corcoran's report, and it shows that the number of sales were way up from the previous quarter. Up 16%, according to Corcoran; up a gigantoid 45%, according to Elliman. Transactions are still way down from 2008, but after the decimation of last quarter?when the brokerages' sales were cut in half?this is a rescue on par with the Jets' drafting of Mark Sanchez. According to Jonathan Miller, "The 'spring' market effectively occurred this summer reflecting a release of pent-up demand, improved consumer confidence buoyed by a rising stock market, record low mortgage rates, increased affordability and the first time buyers tax credit. The surge in activity caused price levels to move sideways and inventory to trend lower." Hooray, market paralysis over! Well, inventory is still high, and again, there are those bogeymen lurking. Godspeed, little market. On to some numbers:

Average sale price

1) Elliman: $1.323M
-Down 10% from last year, up 0.8% from last quarter
2) Corcoran: $1.282M
-Down 16% from last year, down 11% from last quarter
3) Halstead/Brown Harris Stevens: $1.274 million
-Down 13% from last year, flat over last quarter

Median sale price

1) Elliman: $850,000
-Down 8.4% from last year, up 1.7% from last quarter
2) Corcoran: $799,000
-Down 18% from last year, down 4% from last quarter
3) Halstead/BHS: $781,000
-Down 14% from last year, down 1.7% from last quarter

Number of sales

1) Elliman: Down 16% from last year, up 45.6% from last quarter
2) Corcoran: Down 38% from last year, up 16% from last quarter
3) Halstead/BHS: Down 25% from last year

Of course, those are just the "key metrics," but the reports are filled with interesting minutiae broken down in all sorts of categories (average Manhattan price-per-square-foot has dropped below $1,000/sf!) Pick your favorite stats and let's discuss in the comments, ok?

And for even more analysis, here's what The Real Deal, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Bloomberg, Daily News and the New York Post have to say about the matter.
· Market Reports [Elliman]
· Guides & Reports [Corcoran]
· Market Reports [BHS]