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Three Cents Worth: Tracking How High People Buy In Manhattan

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[This week, real estate appraiser, Curbed graph guru, blogger, and podcaster Jonathan Miller examines floor level trends.]

Spectators and participants in the Manhattan housing market have been burning a lot of calories talking about views, something the super luxury new development projects have been marketing as a key feature. I thought I'd look back over time to at what the average floor level of closed co-op and condo sales by quarter, and see if there is a pattern. I sifted through six years of data (note to self for rainy day: go back 25 years and break out condos and co-ops). While I've analyzed the value of floor level in Manhattan here and here before, I've never trended floor level and didn't quite know what to expect.

The 2008 luxury market was the last segment to fall just after Lehman so it's logical that floor level was higher in 2008 than it was a year later. The year after Lehman saw a sharp shift in unit mix to lower priced sales, especially with the sharp decline in mortgage rates and that assumes more sales on lower floors. Lower floor sales had continued momentum until early 2012 as the high end market took over. I suspect that the trend line will rise a bit over the next few years when a lot of the new tall development projects ramp up their closings. Below, a snapshot of some data points, which shows that floor level averages stay pretty steady:

The six-year average floor level by quarter:
1Q 10.3
2Q 10.2
3Q 10.3
4Q 10.2

Six-year overall average by floor level:
2008-2014 10.2

While there appears to be a trend in floor level over the past six years from the chart, it may simply average out over time.
· Miller Samuel [official]
· All Three Cents Worth [Curbed]