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Market Reports Preview: Manhattan Prices Still Slipping?

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As the third quarter winds down, the major real estate brokerages and assorted other lemmings are hard at work putting the finishing touches on their quarterly sales reports. And SPOILER ALERT, the Times' Josh Barbanel has a, um, spoiler alert. Barbanel's bean counting has him thinking the third quarter reports will show a spike in sales volume from the horrible first half of 2009, as expected. But when it comes to prices, they're still falling: down 2% from the previous quarter, and 6% when compared to Q3 '08. That puts the average Manhattan co-op and condo price at about $1.25 million, a decline of 25% from peak pre-Lehman prices. The reports are often chastised for being lagging indicators of the market's overall state, and both brokers and doomsayers alike will probably use that to bolster their arguments this time around. Do the numbers suggest a market stabilization that is already well underway, or are they proof that prices have more to fall? We already know where some of the experts stand.
· At Long Last, a Leveling Out? [NYT]