It's been coming for a long time, and we've been writing about it for a long time here at the New Construction Manhattan blog, but it's not without some sadness that we bring news of what appears to be the demise of the buyer's market in NYC condos. This isn't to say that great deals on NYC condos can't be found -- they're still very much out there, if you know where to look -- but a recent report from the Wall Street Journal confirms what previous intimations have suggested. Namely, that prices for Manhattan condos are finally climbing from their historic lows, and that the market for high-end Manhattan condos is rallying especially hard. For NYC real estate watchers, it's good news to see the market getting healthy again. For those looking for NYC condos, though, it can be cause for consternation. How concerned should you be if you're searching for a Manhattan apartment? Not as concerned as you might think, thankfully.
The long story short is that median prices on NYC condos have risen 9.5% over the past month, and 14% over their May 2009 prices. Those are eye-opening numbers, but as the Journal's Josh Barbanel writes, they don't necessarily mean that the rising tide in the Manhattan condo market has lifted all prices. "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," Barbanel writes. "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."
The bigger point, here, is that median is kind of a confusing metric to use to measure apartment prices. (If you need a brush-up, here you go) Ultra high-end NYC condo listings -- that is, those in the seven-to-eight figure range -- can nudge the median up even if price cuts still abound and good deals can be found on more moderately priced NYC condos. (This would be why you can search condo listings by price at New Construction Manhattan, incidentally) The buyer's market may be on the way out, in short, but buyers can still do well for themselves on the Manhattan condo market.