Manhattan Real Estate: A Decade Screeches to a Halt

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Real-estate guru Jonathan Miller has just released his Prudential Douglas Elliman ten-year survey of Manhattan’s co-op and condo market and, as expected, the decade that started out with a (relative) bang ended with a whimper. Yes, average prices, median prices, and average-price-per-square-foot each tripled during the last ten years, and the number of sales rose 8.2 percent in the same time period. But inventory is much higher, too — 6,906 properties were on the market in 1999 compared to 2008’s 9,081. (In 2007, there were 6,446 units available for sale, which means inventory spiked an astounding 40.9 percent between then and last year.)

Per the report, “listing inventory is currently at its highest level” since Miller started tracking this stat. It takes a lot longer to sell anything nowadays, too — an average of 143 days in 2008 compared to 92 days in 1999. Townhouses are also suffering: Sales were down 56 percent from 2007 to 2008, though down just 6.3 percent stacked up against 1999, and it takes a full two weeks longer to unload one compared to back then. So when did the market start this free fall? Soon after the credit crunch began to set in mid-2007, back when many brokers were still claiming there was nowhere to go but up. Ah, hindsight.

Manhattan Market Report [Prudential Douglas Elliman]