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Three Cents Worth: Manhattan's Middle Market Shows Life

[This week, real estate appraiser, Curbed graph guru, blogger, and podcaster Jonathan Miller reconsiders the donut.]

This week I thought I'd take a look at the breakdown of sales by price in the most recently completed quarter. Last year I was using a donut analogy to describe the Manhattan apartment market?weak in middle and strong on the outside (bottom/top). I wanted to illustrate how the mix in 2013 could be showing signs of change rather than continuing to see a disproportionate amount of activity on the margins. For reference I provided an inset in the form of a pie (sorry) chart to show a simple breakdown of the market in the second quarter of 2013. The column chart was a bit more involved. It represents the difference between 2Q 2013 and 2Q 2012 as measured by percentage to illustrate any market shifts that may be occurring. For example, the market share of the $1K-$500K was 21.3 percent (in pie chart), 4.1 percent less (in column chart) than 25.4 percent in the year ago quarter.

Some observations:

· Sub $500k market lost share (4.1 percent) likely due to lack of supply and tight credit. Too soon in the data to see rise in mortgage rates but expect more weakness.
· $501k to $4M or middle, upper middle of market showed slight gains from a year ago?something we haven't seen in quite a while. This is nearly 3/4 of the entire market so "middle" is quite a broad description.
· $4M+ showed mixed results but generally unchanged.

With rising mortgage rates and little gain in supply across much of the market, I suspect we will continue to see an erosion in market share at the entry level sales as more first time buyers get shut out. I'd like to think the middle of the market would continue to improve in share?a market starting to see more trade-ups and lateral movement but perhaps not at the pace we've seen year to date. The overhyped high end will probably muddle along in balance with no real change in supply.
· Matrix [matrix.millersamuel.com]
· Three Cents Worth archive [Curbed]