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Don't Call it a Comeback for the Manhattan Market Just Yet

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The last few quarterly market reports have been decent, and even, perhaps, normal. But all good things must come to an end, including rosy (for a recession recovery) sales numbers...and agreement among brokerages about what those numbers actually are. On to the first quarter sales numbers! Brace: seems like it'll be a bumpy ride.

All the brokerages' reports show prices down. Elliman has the median sales price at $782,071, down 9.9 percent from a year ago and 7.4 percent from last quarter (probably because more of the sales were co-ops, which sell for lower prices). Brown Harris Stevens, Halstead, and Corcoran have slightly different numbers, but all agree they're lower than last year. Where the reports differ is in the stats for number of sales. The Elliman report has sales essentially flat compared to last year, rising only 0.4 percent (and 4.3 percent higher than last quarter). But Brown Harris Stevens says sales fell 23 percent compared to the first quarter of 2010. StreetEasy also noted at 27.4 percent decline in closing volume. Too bad it's not an April Fool's prank!

Market oracle and Elliman report preparer Jonathan Miller suggests the reason for the discrepancy may just be that the city's sales records are spottier when it comes to co-op sales than they are for condos. But brokers insist more apartments are going into contract at higher prices. They've got a quarter to prove it.

Those much-discussed first quarter co-op prices:

· Market Reports [Elliman]
· Market Reports [Corcoran]
· Market Reports [BHS]
· Market Reports [Halstead]
· Market Report coverage [Curbed]