Condo Sales, That Great Manhattan Barometer, Plunge From ’07

This is the first in a three-part series today covering the Manhattan housing market since autumn 2007.


Manhattan condo sales dropped 22.6 percent annually in the third quarter of 2008, according to a new report from appraisal firm Miller Samuel and brokerage giant Prudential Douglas Elliman. At the same time, the 12 months from September 2007 to now, the median sales price, the average sales price and the average sales price per square foot for a Manhattan condo increased.

With lower downpayments and no co-op board process, condos are the gateway buy for many New York homeowners; and therefore a solid barometer of where the borough’s housing market has been and where it may be going in tougher economic times.

The third-quarter numbers reflect deals closed in the three months ending Sept. 30, so do not reflect buyer reaction to the financial turmoil of late September. Still, the last three months have hosted a series of ills for the local economy, including a bump in the unemployment rate and increases in the costs of goods, including food and oil. Plus, there’s that presidential election rattling nerves and keeping New Yorkers up at night.

The average condo sales price increased 10.6 percent annually in the third quarter to $1,809,684, off a peak in the second quarter of 2008 of $1,937,090.

The median sales price, a more even measure of the condo market not so skewed by individual mammoth sales at places like 15 Central Park West and the Plaza, was $1,220,000 in the third quarter, up 8.9 percent from the same time in 2007; but down from the second quarter’s $1,267,000.

The average condo sales price per square foot increased 4.4 percent annually to $1,334. It dropped quarterly, too, however, from 1,442.

But it’s the sales that were the most off from the summer months of 2007–down 22.6 percent to 1,306. Those condos accounted for 49.2 percent of Manhattan’s apartment sales in the third quarter, about the same market share as in the same quarter last year.

Manhattan apartment sales generally dropped annually in the third quarter, down 24.1 percent. Co-op sales dropped 25.6 percent.

Condo Sales, That Great Manhattan Barometer, Plunge From ’07