At the end of the third quarter, the stats suggested the Manhattan market had found its new normal, and the numbers from the last quarter of 2011 do nothing to change our mind. The major brokerages and StreetEasy released their fourth-quarter reports at midnight, and what's better than market numbers on a freezing Wednesday? Nothing. The median sales price was $855,000, according to the Elliman report, up 1.2 percent from the prior year and down 6.2 percent from the third quarter?a seasonal decline, the report hastens to assure us. The Brown Harris Stevens report attributes the price drop to a decline in condo sales, which typically sell at higher prices than co-ops. (The median new development price specifically fell 9.8 percent, according to the StreetEasy report.)
The figures were slightly less in line with seasonal patterns when it comes to number of sales. Sales dropped 12.4 percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2010 and 35.3 percent compared to Q3.
Not to worry, says Curbed graph guru (and Elliman report author) Jonathan Miller. Sure, the number of sales in Q4 was way lower than in Q3, but the third quarter sales surge was actually the highest in four years, as a drop in interest rates pulled buyers into the market quickly. "The year over year is more telling," he explains, "but a year ago was somewhat inflated due to the end-of-year surge as people were worried the Bush tax would expire and they closed in 2010 to be safe." Plus, the ups and downs in the financial markets have put some purchases on pause as buyers try to figure it all out. But?here's the optimism?while fourth quarter sales were lower than expected, sales numbers for 2011 overall were slightly higher than for 2010. "Boring is the new good!" insists JMillz. As long as there's an $88 million penthouse sale to spice things up now and then.
· Market Reports [Elliman]
· Market Reports [BHS]
· Market Reports [StreetEasy]
· Market Reports coverage [Curbed]