Hard times have come to the Manhattan real estate market, according to a series of quarterly sales reports to be issued on Thursday.Relatively few apartments are selling, and when they do, prices are down 20 percent or more from a year ago. Large, luxurious apartments on Fifth Avenue, Park Avenue and Central Park West, and new condominiums with many unsold apartments, have been particularly hard hit.One report, prepared by two brokerage firms, Brown Harris Stevens and Halstead Property, showed the number of closings of condos and co-ops down by 58 percent in the first quarter of 2009, compared with the same period a year earlier, as buyers were scared off by worries over the economy, portfolio losses and fears that apartment prices would continue to fall in the months ahead.The drop in sales was worse than the decline in the auto industry. In March, sales at General Motors were off 45 percent from March 2008.
By Josh Barbanel, April 2, 2009, NYT

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