Glamorous eight-figure sales at Manhattan's most sought after addresses may have grabbed the headlines in the opening months of 2012, but initial data shows that the new year is experiencing a slowdown in sales from an already-dismal first quarter of 2011. The WSJ reports that two months into the period, Manhattan first-quarter sales are down 6.4% versus 2011, when the market was hampered by record January snowfalls in the city. One bright spot in the otherwise down market was sales of $4 million-plus residences, which grew year over year. The signature sale of the quarter through eight weeks was the record-setting purchase of Sandy Weill's penthouse at 15CPW for $88 million.
Because of the lower number of pedestrian (under $4 million) sales in January and February, the median sale price for those months was up 5.7%. The astronomic sale of Weill's home to a 22-year-old Ekaterina Rybolovleva, however, boosted the average price of a Manhattan home sale 21.2%.
A number of rationales are offered to explain the slowdown in Manhattan apartment sales, including job losses in the financial sector, scaled back Wall Street bonuses, and uncertainty about the economy. Brokers, on the other hand, were busy explaining why the early numbers were not indicative of a slowdown, and told the Journal that they were experiencing a surge of sales in contract and large numbers of prospective buyers visiting open houses. Tell that to sellers of moderately priced co-ops though. Sales for co-ops asking less than $1 million fell 15% in January and February.
· Property Slips in Manhattan [WSJ]
· World's 93rd Richest Person Buys $88M 15 CPW Penthouse [CurbedNY]
· Market Reports [CurbedNY]