For Manhattan Housing, No Double-Dip (Yet)

And your maintenance fees are this way...

Back in April, there was much hand-wringing (and Obama-blaming) when apartment sales prices actually dipped in the first quarter. It turns out the first-time homebuyer tax credits had not so much buoyed the Manhattan housing market as put a kink in its decline that is still being worked out.

The good news was the dip meant a return to the normal, seasonal cycles, and it is reaffirmed today with the release of No. 1-in-our-hearts Jonathan Miller‘s report for Prudential Douglas Elliman.

In the second quarter of the year, 2,650 condos and co-ops sold in Manhattan, 10.7 percent more than were sold in the first quarter of the year but 3.8 percent less than were sold during the same period last year, when the tax credit was just winding down.

Prices are reacting normally again, as well, making their spring surge. Average apartment prices rising 9.3 percent to $1.45 million, from $1.33 million in the first quarter, and the price is also up 1.6 percent from the year before. The median price is up 8.7 percent to $850,000, from 782,000 in the first quarter. The median sales price is still not as high as it was last year, however, when it was $899,000, a difference of 5.5 percent.

This belies the uneven market recovery, wherein luxury housing is outperforming all other sectors. The average prices for units selling over $4 million in Manhattan was $5.78 million, up 12.9 percent from the first quarter and 11.8 percent last year, and the median price was $4.55 million, up 15.2 percent from the first quarter and 11.2 percent last year.

Meanwhile, new condo developments continue to dwindle in popularity, with the median price down 15.7 percent from last quarter and 19 percent from last year to $1.13 million.

Condos, which did well throughout last year, continued to lose market share to co-ops, which had their second-best quarter since 2007, with 1,366 units sold, though that is less than last quarter, when 1,430 were sold, the best performance in four years. The median co-op price was $700,000, up 8.9 percent from the first quarter and 0.4 percent last year. Condos, on the other hand, had a median price of $1.07 million, down 7 percent from the first quarter and 2.7 percent from last year.

Mr. Miller blames the lagging economy and the recalcitrant banks for the continued unevenness in the market: “While the regional economy continues to fare better than many U.S. urban markets, the continuing issues of elevated unemployment, a constrained U.S. mortgage lending environment, and the weak dollar against the foreign currencies continue to keep meaningful improvements in the housing market in check.”

For Manhattan Housing, No Double-Dip (Yet)