Manhattan’s residential real estate market has always been fluid, but increasingly it is becoming more multi-layered and segmented, with different price points moving in different directions. In the light of Q1 2016 stats which show average residential prices exceeding the $2M mark for the first time, it’s instructive to take a close look at inventory numbers and pending sales to see how they break out according to co-op versus condo purchases by price. Two important caveats are noteworthy when reviewing 2016 sales figures: for one thing, these averages are skewed by closings at high end new developments such as 432 Park Avenue and 150 Charles Street; secondly while sales records are an important part of history, it’s contracts signed that more accurately reflect the market moment since the closings for most new developments can follow contracts signed by as many as two years ago.


A snapshot of the current inventory from UrbanDigs, Noah Rosenblatt’s acclaimed real time online analytics engine, shows a total of 4,518 co-ops and condo’s for sale with 27.4% more condos on the market than co-ops reflecting the new development boom of the last few years. Interestingly, roughly half of the housing stock is priced below $2M. 



as of 4/13/16*



Take a look at the numbers for Contracts Signed for this year’s first quarter. The number of pending contracts this year is down 29% for co-ops and 35% for condo’s. 




It’s no secret that the top tier of the market is softening. Though representing less than 8% of the total number of listings, this end attracts the most attention because of its eye popping stratospheric prices. In recent years, new price points were created in the over $10M category scaling quickly beyond price tags of $30M, then $50M and then north of $100M. Developers were riding a wave of acceleration driven in part by foreign investment and capital flight until the peak reached in spring 2015. With global investment abated and US investors pausing to shop and evaluate choices, competition for buyer attention for these apartments has intensified. To get contracts signed, developers are reducing prices and offering upgrades or concessions. Some are whispering incentives to agents, and still others are courting buyers directly. Smart shoppers in this category would do well to seize the moment and close on a plum trophy property before this uber tier turns upward again.  


At the market’s extreme other end, where mortgage rates drives activity and sales, rates continue at historic lows and will probably remain there for the balance of 2016. Lenders are anticipating a staggering $1.6 trillion dollar market this year, and my bank friends tell me these institutions are adding hundreds of new origination hires in anticipation of increased volume.


Despite a cautionary element that entered the market with Wall Street’s Q1 volatility, properties that are priced appropriately are moving to contract quickly particularly in hot downtown neighborhoods. Are you ready for a fresh spring? Buyers should gain the edge this season.