Market reports said that even as overall average prices rose, prices in most individual categories, such as studios or one-bedrooms, were flat or falling. This suggests the average price rise was due more to the changing mix of apartments sold than to a fundamental shift in the market. It isn’t clear whether that pattern will recur in the second quarter.And with the stock market down, and European buyers holding off because of a declining euro, worries over a worsening economy could also put a damper on a Manhattan housing
recovery in the months ahead.

A rise in apartment sales in Manhattan during the spring selling season, especially among expensive co-ops, led to an upward bump in average prices, according to an analysis of recent transactions, giving hope to brokers and analysts looking for a housing turnaround Preliminary figures compiled by The Wall Street Journal show that the median price of a Manhattan co-op hit $685,000 last month, up 9.5% when compared with the previous month and 14%higher than May 2009, when co-op prices bottomed. The median condominium price was $1.2 million, up by 4.6% compared to the previous month and 13.8% versus May 2009.The latest data lend support to brokers, in midst of what is usually the biggest selling season of the year, who have reported a significant turn in sales activity.The gains in median prices don’t necessarily mean that prices overall are appreciating. The Wall Street Journal analysis found sales picked up the most for higher-end properties,which pushed up the average.
By Josh Barbanel, June 14, 2010 WSJ

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06/14/10 WSJ