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Manhattan apartment prices reach an all-time high—again

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Both the median and average sales prices hit records in the second quarter of the year

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We’ve hit mid-summer, which means it’s time for another batch of real estate market reports—this time looking at how sales have fared in the second quarter of the year. And despite the fact that some indicators show a cooling sales market—there are fewer apartments hitting the market, and the ones that are there tend to sit longer without finding buyers—prices are still hitting new heights.

How high? According to Douglas Elliman’s report, the median sales price in Manhattan jumped 7.3 percent to $1,189,011, while the average sales price rose 7.9 percent to $2,189,037—both of which are records. According to Jonathan Miller, the number of sales in the borough also increased substantially—more than 3,000 were recorded for this quarter. To Miller, the big trends are “high sales, record prices, re-sale inventory beginning to slip, and still plenty of bidding wars.”

Median prices for condos also hit a record, rising nine percent to $1.875 million. “A big part of that was new development,” says MIller, with both the number of apartments sold and those coming onto the market increasing. The median sales price for all new development increased 22.8 percent to $3,306,656.

But still, there are some signs of cooling off—at least at the upper-upper echelon of the market, where the median sale price increased 3.5 percent to $6,836,269. “Listing discounts began rising in the last quarter, which means that luxury sellers are becoming more realistic with pricing,” Miller says. That also led to a drop in the number of luxury apartments on the market—a trend we’ve seen for some time now—as aspirationally-priced listings were allowed to expire.

The high Manhattan price trend is one recorded by Halstead Property Development Marketing, too, which found that both the average and median sales prices in the borough set records. (The numbers are pretty similar to Elliman’s.) Prices in Brooklyn are also up, and according to according to Stephen Kliegerman, president of HPDM, “Harlem, Downtown, and Brooklyn were Q2’s strongest markets for new development sales.”

Corcoran also reports record sales pricing in Manhattan ($1.193 million median and $2.163 million average), but believes that single-digit increases in purchase prices, as well as the the low annual increases in pricing by square footage, “are more indicative of flat pricing as they are less skewed by purchase price outliers.”

The report found that the average price on resale condos ($2.207 million) was pushed up due to high sales at 15 Central Park West, One57, and the Time Warner Center. Resale co-ops saw price increases across the board, while inventory increased slightly. The average price for a co-op came in at $1.38 million.

Town’s market report broke down the details of Manhattan condo, co-op and, townhouse sales, and found that 47.2 percent of condo sales were between $1 million and $3 million—so not in the “luxury” echelon of the market. The report only tracked 57 townhouse sales, but found limited movement in median sales price and a 5.3 percent increase in the average sales price to $7,849,842. The most noticeable trend within the townhouse market, according to the report, was a 50 percent increase in days on market—from 150 to 226.

Stribling’s report also tracked record prices, but credited that to a spate of closings for high-priced developments that are just now starting to close. “In reality, sellers are now pricing their properties more appropriately, thus increasing the number of interested buyers,” the report says.

And last but not least, Warburg’s market report took a brief dip into the rental market—and found a bit of a different story. “The rental market remains in the doldrums,” says firm founder Frederick Peters. So far this summer, the pace at which new leases are signed has not appreciably picked up. The report found that continued closings on condos, bought for investment, ultimately crowd an already glutted, oversupplied rental market. Tenants are still able to negotiate better deals for themselves, “as landlords acknowledge that a known tenant at a slightly lower rent beats no tenant at all,” Peters says.