Co-ops vs. Condos: Co-ops Winning Again

magnifying glass Co ops vs. Condos: Co ops Winning Again

You, under this.

Co-ops are the dominant form of for-sale housing on our fair isle, more difficult to get into (persnickety boards that have recently gotten that much more uppity) and generally more expensive to buy (bigger down payments and more stringent financial requirements). They account for roughly two-thirds of the Manhattan housing stock, with condos comprising much of the rest.

But, for a while there during the last decade, condos overtook co-ops as the preferred housing choice, maybe due to looser mortgages or just the simple ubiquity of all those gleaming, new towers. This reporter recalls offhand a study done by The Real Deal magazine that showed more than 9,000 condos proposed for Manhattan in 2005 alone—and most of them subsequently got built.

It appears, though, that the dowager has risen. Co-ops now firmly account for a majority of the apartments sold in Manhattan. According to the latest quarterly report from appraisal firm Miller Samuel and brokerage Douglas Elliman, co-ops accounted for 51.5 percent of Manhattan apartment sales in the three months ending June 30. In the three months of this year, they accounted for 59.7 percent. In the quarter before that, at the tail of 2010, they accounted for 51.6 percent… three straight quarters now of majority rule by co-ops. It’s like the Republicans back in control of the House: more money and more exclusivity in the ranks!

For a time, though, the co-op share of sales had sunk well into the minority, falling as far as to 34.6 percent in the first quarter of 2009. For entire years during the boom there, while financing flowed like imitation Champagne and condo marketing ascended to Olympic levels of silliness, condos consumed the lion’s share. Not anymore. Carry on.