Report: Manhattan Housing Slightly Less Astronomically Expensive

Let’s go right for the negative: In the fourth quarter of 2006, for the first time in more than a year, the average price per square foot for a Manhattan apartment fell below $1,000, according to a new report. The report, from appraisal firm Miller Samuel and brokerage Prudential Douglas Elliman, shows the average dropping 5 percent from $1,050 in the third quarter to $998 in the fourth. It was last below $1,000 in the third quarter of 2005, when it reached $984.

Otherwise, the report–a benchmark for the health of the Manhattan housing market, along with others from Halstead Property and the Corcoran Group–painted a familiar picture of a Manhattan that remains very expensive, even with other quarterly price dips besides the per-foot slide.

Every Manhattan-wide sales-price marker cited in the Miller Samuel report–average, median and per-foot–declined slightly from the third quarter to the fourth. But the meaning’s in the details: The average, for instance, declined from $1,288,748 to $1,224,840.

In a borough where the median household income was $50,000 in 2005, does that drop to $1,224,840 really make a difference to most?

- Tom Acitelli