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Three Cents Worth: Manhattan Square Footage Spark

[This week, real estate appraiser, Curbed graph guru, and podcaster extraordinaire Jonathan Miller uses his new toy to size up sold apartments.]

Since the 2011 version of Microsoft Excel for Mac was just released, I thought I'd play with the new sparklines feature and create a table of square footage by apartment type for Manhattan co-ops and condos, combined to reflect the near term in addition to a trend chart for co-ops and condos separately over a longer period.

In the near term the table shows that there was a pronounced decline in average square footage of apartments that sold in the past year across all apartment types. Makes sense - economic downturn, smaller apartment size prevails. However I would have expected a more limited impact to the higher end of the market initially, in terms of sold units, since prices were hit much harder at the upper end of the market. However, as sales activity expanded over the past year, the average size of an apartment being sold is generally expanding but with some sort of weird blip this past quarter I can't explain.

In the long term, the average sizes appear to be trending higher again over the past two years, i.e. favoring activity of mid and larger apartments as of late. Average sizes had previously peaked circa the dot-com era in 2000 (remember white box loft sales?), and the average square footage trended lower until bottoming out as the market crashed. This makes sense since prices were rising sharply over the 2000-2008 period, and declining affordability made smaller apartments (within each size category) a way to cheat the market, so to speak. Of course there were many other forms of financial cheating going on in that era.
· Manhattan Co-op/Condo Average Square Feet by Apartment Type [Miller Samuel]
· Manhattan Average Co-op/Condo Square Foot Trend [Miller Samuel]
· Three Cents Worth archive [Curbed]