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Three Cents Worth: 1 in 5 Manhattan Sales Has Outdoor Space

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In a special Outdoors Week edition of his column, real estate appraiser, Curbed graph guru, blogger, and podcaster Jonathan Miller examines 30 years of data on New York City real estate sales with outdoor space.

When the Curbed editors told me this was Outdoors Week—I was still reeling from Bodega Week in 2012—I thought I'd pull together something I hadn't done before with outdoor space. Since I've talked about how to value it, this time I looked at the last 30 years of Manhattan co-op and condo sales and tracked the market share of sales that has some form of outdoor space. The green line includes sales with balconies, terraces, patios, gardens and roof rights. In purple, I plotted the annual median sales price over the same period—that line smooths out a lot of the quarter-by-quarter peaks and valleys, but it does show one thing—that price trends don't correlate to the popularity of terraces.

Those properties hovered in the 15 percent vicinity for the latter half of the 1980s. Those were the days when the top of condo buildings were for health clubs rather than penthouses. The use of terraces—remember, follow the green line—has remained remarkably consistent through 2013.

THe popularity of terraces did jump in 1993, just after the recession, when penthouses came into fashion. There was another small spike during the last housing boom, but their presence has stayed consistent through the Lehman financial downturn and up to 2013. The 2014 year-to-date market share is very low. We'll have to see how the numbers turn out after the year is completed.

Now you know: one in five Manhattan sales has some type of outdoor space. That's more than you thought, right?
· Miller Samuel [official]
· Three Cents Worth archive [Curbed]
· All Outdoors Week 2014 coverage [Curbed]