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Manhattan Sales Break A Whole Bunch of Records In Q4

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While the fourth quarter of the year is typically the slowest in terms of sales and price trends, this one proved to be an exception in Manhattan. Just like last quarter, inventory hit a new low due to an unusually heavy volume of sales, which, according to appraiser and Elliman report preparer Jonathan Miller, was due to several years of pent up demand leading up to last New Years' fiscal cliff deadline. "Consumers poured into the market in 2013 after holding back for several years," Miller told us. This led to several records being set—we saw the most sales for a fourth quarter in 25 years and inventory is at its lowest point in at least the past fourteen years, if not more. The average sales price also set a new fourth quarter record and the median sales price for condos is at an all time high. "Condos are faring better than co-ops," Miller added. "International demand focused on condos and new development product is nearly all condo."

For the fourth quarter, the median sales price was $855,000 (up 2.1 percent) while the average sales price was $1,538,203 (up 5.3 percent). The listing inventory fell 12.3 percent to 4,164.

Looking to the future, Miller predicts that inventory is at or near its low point. Now that the fence-sitters from the last few years are mostly done flooding the market, sales activity in 2014 shouldn't be quite as heavy (but still fairly busy). As for that crazy luxury market, it is indeed going crazy. The luxury market (the top 10 percent of sales) was north of $3.2 million, and median sales price rose faster than the overall market. However, according to Miller, since much of the luxury supply of resales is overpriced there is still not enough inventory that is actually in the market (priced correctly). "Would-be sellers are being influenced by the $90M+ new development contracts and thinking it applies to the entire high end market," he says.

The Corcoran report notes that this is the twelfth consecutive year in which the market-wide inventory level declined, and that the fourth quarter inventory for this year is 54 percent below the peak inventory level of quarter one in 2009. According to Halstead's report, condos set an average price record of $2,160,272, while new developments also set an average price record of $2,885,758. Streeteasy adds that time on market decreased by 31.3 percent to 92 days, compared to 134 days from last year's fourth quarter.
· Elliman Report - Q4, Manhattan Sales [Elliman]
· Corcoran Report [PDF]
· All Quarterly Market reports [Curbed]