The downside of the city’s relatively stable real-estate market is that, even in these uncertain economic times, it’s not as buyer-friendly as you might expect. But one segment appears ripe for the picking: starter apartments. Brokers report a fledgling but discernible hesitation among buyers of studios and one-bedrooms, who are taking longer to leap and only do so when they perceive value. “The apartment almost needs to be priced below market to generate interest,” says Corcoran’s John Gasdaska, who has been seeing many of his smaller listings languish while larger apartments handily find buyers. Prudential Douglas Elliman’s Samantha Behringer agrees: “I’ve been doing lots of studios and one-bedrooms lately. The majority of them stay on [the market] for a while,” she says. “I’m about to make reductions on a few.”
StreetEasy.com data show a bump in the number of studios available in August of this year compared to the same period last year. More significantly, both studios and one-bedrooms are taking two weeks longer than last year to go into contract. (Two- and three-bedrooms are sitting for only a week more than before, and properties larger than that are taking five weeks less to sell.) By the time they find takers, these apartments’ average final asking prices are significantly lower than their original price tags—down from $432,966 to $411,737 for studios and $645,850 to $628,679 for one-bedrooms—whereas average prices for two- and three-bedrooms actually went up in August. Here, a tour of four prime, price-slashed starters.