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The Quarterly Condo Sales Numbers Forgot the Holiday Cheer

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We have to wait until after the new year for the official fourth quarter market reports from the major brokerages, but the Wall Street Journal has an early analysis of the condo and co-op sales recorded this quarter. And the numbers? Aren't looking so good. The number of deals overall fell 12 percent from the fourth quarter of 2010, putting the market back at about mid-2009 levels. Condo sales fell 24 percent, and sales of condos under $1 million fell by more than 30 percent. Co-ops did much better, with sales dropping only 1.3 percent. Median prices were about 6.6 percent lower than they were in the fourth quarter of 2010; median condo prices actually rose by 13 percent because of the decline in sales of cheaper condos.
There are a few possible explanations for the less-than-ideal sales numbers. Buyers may have been worried by the brief lowering of the maximum loan amount for FHA-insured loans, and the financial uncertainty in Europe may have posed a problem for some buyers, too. Closings have also been delayed at some new condo buildings while the buildings await temporary certificates of occupancy. Buyers, we recommend hibernating for a few months.
· Sag in Manhattan Market [WSJ]
· Market Reports coverage [Curbed]