Manhattan Real Estate Prices Surging Again, Back To Ridiculous Levels

New York City skyline

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NEW YORK (AP) — Home prices in Manhattan dipped in the first quarter of the year, but sales activity rocketed from last year’s low levels.Two housing reports released Friday showed how Manhattan is navigating a choppy housing market recovery.

Sales have been helped by low mortgage rates and a healthy stock market that has boosted consumer confidence. But other economic factors like high unemployment will still pose obstacles for the housing market for the rest of the year.

A report by Brown Harris Stevens showed sales of condominium and co-op units increased 92 per cent compared with the first quarter of 2009. But Hall Willkie, president of the real estate brokerage, noted the collapse of Lehman Brothers weighed heavily on last year’s figures.

The report showed the median sales price for condos and co-ops in the first quarter was $820,000. That was down 10 per cent from a year ago, but up from $800,000 in the fourth quarter of 2009.

Still, it appears sellers are getting what they want. Manhattan sellers received 96 per cent of their last asking price during the first quarter, marking the third consecutive quarter that figure has increased.

The other report, by Prudential Douglas Elliman Real Estate, showed the median sales price for a condo was $1.07 million, a 13 per cent decline from last year’s first quarter. But condo sales rose 63 per cent to 1,273 units.

In the co-op market, the median sales price was $685,000, up nearly 17 per cent from the first quarter last year. Sales climbed 168 per cent to 1,111 units.

The luxury market, defined as the top 10 per cent of the market by price, saw the median sale price drop 30 per cent to $4.58 million.

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