Although the prices of Manhattan apartments have remained high so far in the fourth quarter, figures on inventory and new listings illustrate a sharp deterioration in the market as the economy and consumer confidence fell. (web editor’s, Tim Estin’s, note: As Manhattan goes in trend and timeline, so too often goes Aspen).
By Josh Barbanel, Nov 23, 2008, New York Times
The number of apartments that went into contract or had accepted offers in October plunged by 20 percent compared with September, and by 62 percent compared with October 2007, according to figures provided by the Corcoran Group, a residential real estate firm.
There were 577 listings with signed contracts or accepted offers this October, compared with 1,588 a year earlier, according to the data.
At the same time, the number of Manhattan listings rose to the highest level in several years, up 20 percent since August and 33 percent since October 2007, according to figures provided by Jonathan Miller, the president of Miller Samuel, an appraisal firm that prepares market studies for another brokerage firm, Prudential Douglas Elliman.
Mr. Miller said that because of the lag between contract signings and apartment closings, typically as much as 45 days, he didn’t think sales figures would reflect the price decline in the market until the first quarter of next year.
A look at closing prices so far in the fourth quarter showed that average sale prices remained flat though well above the level of a year ago, with a decline in co-op prices offset by rising prices on condominiums.
During the last few years, the upper end of the market was strong, and sellers often stuck to their prices. But Mr. Miller said that he expected this pattern to change, and owners of more expensive apartments to give large discounts off the original asking prices.
“The market is redefining itself,” said Kirk Henckels, the director of private brokerage at Stribling & Associates. “Once we find a consensus — and we are close to it — asking prices will fall.”