New Development Market Report Another Healthy Sign for the Manhattan Residential Market

More evidence that the MaRendering of penthouse in 471 Washington St.nhattan condo market is making headway comes courtesy of MNS’s new development market report, which was released last week. The quarterly report, which measures the rate and price at which newly constructed Manhattan condos with no previous owners are sold, points to a solid growth in both median sales and median price per square foot from the fourth quarter of 2010 to the fourth quarter of 2011. It also points to a growth in median price per square foot from the third quarter of 2011 to the fourth quarter, but a slight drop in median sales price during the same time. These numbers imply that, while new condo sales overall were lower during the fourth quarter than they were during the third, the market for high-end Manhattan real estate is alive and well.

This report dovetails with a separate report of overall Manhattan condo sales from 2002 to 2011, which said that housing prices have risen at a rate keeping with inflation, and that market activity is currently at a level similar to what it was in 2002. The conclusion the report offers is slightly misleading if taken at a glance, due to the erratic behavior of the market between 2007 and 2010. But it in any case is an indication that the market has leveled out.

The MNS report shows an 18% growth in median sales prices from the fourth quarter of 2010 to the fourth quarter of 2011, moving from $1.224 million to $1.487 million. It shows a 14% median price per square foot increase during the same time, from $1,113 million to $1,296. New condos in the Upper West Side sold at a rate higher than any other neighborhood, accounting for 18% of all new development sales in Manhattan. Despite the high number of sales, the Upper West Side also has the highest absorption rate for any neighborhood in the city, which suggests that there is more new construction available there than in any other Manhattan neighborhood.

The numbers were slightly less impressive from the third quarter to the fourth quarter of last year. Sales on new condos overall dropped from $790 million to $675 million. But there were several neighborhoods that saw large jumps from the third to the fourth quarter. The Upper West Side, Midtown West, Murray Hill, Greenwich Village and Tribeca all saw median price increases for new condos. The fourth quarter is almost always the slowest part of the year.

A penthouse combo in 471 Washington Street in Tribeca was the most expensive new development to sell during the fourth quarter. It sold to a finance mogul for $17,055,687. This purchase is more evidence that ultra-luxury condos have had no trouble selling, and the sale bears a certain amount of responsibility for Tribeca's market success. But the steady overall climb indicates that more New Yorkers are financially capable of purchasing homes.

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