Hurdles to buying an apartment in New York City remain impossibly high

And you thought the slumping economy meant you might finally be able to afford a home in this absurdly expensive city.

Fat chance.

New York City’s streets (particularly in Manhattan and Brooklyn) continue to be paved with gold, according to a report released today by the Real Estate Board of New York on its residentialNYC.com Web site.

The average price of a coop or condo in Manhattan in the first quarter of this year leaped 40 percent to a jaw-dropping $1.55 million, compared to the same quarter last year.

Across the East River, the average price of a Brooklyn coop or condo rose 10 percent to $483,000.

In Queens, the average price for an apartment rose 13 percent to $290,000.

Citywide, the average price of a home rose 28 percent to $853,000.

The most expensive neighborhood in which to nest? SoHo, where the average sales price is a galling (or, if you’re a broker, fabulous) $2.3 million. TriBeCa was the second priciest, averaging $2.2 million a home.

“While the number of sales was down overall in the quarter, prices continue to rise particularly in Manhattan and in Brooklyn as well,” said REBNY president Steven Spinola in a statement. “Further, the report shows that Manhattan’s luxury market for high-end properties continues to remain untouched by the slowing national economy. Manhattan condominiums in particular continue to sell for record high prices.”

According to the report, the number of home sales shrunk 22 percent in the first quarter, compared to the same time period in 2007.

Meanwhile, in the less glamorous boroughs of Queens, Staten Island, and the Bronx, average home prices fell five perecent to $458,000, five percent to $427,000, and one percent to $396,000, respectively.

Hurdles to buying an apartment in New York City remain impossibly high