As autumn makes its chilly presence felt in New York City, the skyrocketing prices of the city’s real estate have also cooled down (finally!). After a rollicking summer that saw eye-popping prices being asked for several homes in Manhattan, real estate reports from the third quarter of 2012 say that the prices of condos and co-ops have remained more or less the same, with only a few real estate firms showcasing an increase in prices. This is especially true in the lower and middle end of the market. However, Manhattan apartment sales have continued to rise, reaching a level that is the highest quarterly total since the financial crisis began in 2008.
Interestingly, while high-end luxury apartment sales headlined quarter reports from earlier in the year, this latest report says that most of the sales have been for smaller apartments in the city. For instance, one-bedroom apartments have seen a lot of interest as well as sales, with buyers making use of low mortgage rates to snap up these homes for themselves. With rents rising like crazy, more and more New Yorkers seem to be interested in buying rather than renting apartments, and the interest in smaller apartments seem to be a justification of this theory.
But although the number of apartment sales has risen, the number of vacant apartments in Manhattan has continued to decline. In fact, The New York Times reports that inventory levels have hit their lowest levels in more than seven years, leading to “bidding wars” for the apartments that are still available. Apartment prices could also rise, as owners take advantage of the low inventory levels to make a neat profit on the apartments they offer. Pamela Liebman, CEO of the Corcoran Group, told The Times that the real estate market in Manhattan is now “a good market; it’s just that the inventory is terrible.”
So, what does this all mean for those of you looking for an apartment? The path to take seems quite clear: if you see an apartment that you like, make sure you make your interest known as soon as you can! As Liebman rightly put it: “There’s lots of competition for too few apartments. If they [buyers] don’t move quickly on new listings, they won’t be there very long.” Besides, this cool down in apartment prices seems to be a very transient phase in Manhattan’s real estate market, and so, the sooner one makes a purchase, the better it will be for him or her.