Read my next post for my own opinions on this, but for now-
Unfiltered Economist-Speak from BHS Chief Economist Gregory Heym:
Manhattan apartment sales prices averaged $1,364,733 in the first quarter of 2011, virtually unchanged from a year ago, but 5% less than the fourth quarter of 2010.
This marked the first time since the second quarter of 2009 that the average price declined from the prior quarter.
The median apartment price of $787,500 was 4% lower than the first quarter of 2010, while the number of sales fell 23% from 2010’s first quarter.
Part of the decline in prices and in the number of sales may be attributable to the scheduled expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts at the end of 2010.
Although they were ultimately extended, the extension wasn’t signed until the middle of December.
This was after many homeowners had already made the decision to sell before the year ended to avoid paying a higher capital gains rate.
Closings that might have occurred in the first quarter of 2011 were pushed forward, which help fuel the decline in transactions.
This rush to sell was reflected in the spike in high-end closings beginning in November, which pushed the average price up to over $1.6 million by December.
January of 2011 saw closing prices return to where they were in October, at approximately $1.34 million.
The average co-op sale price of $1,070,229 was 1% lower than a year ago, although prices did rise for two-bedroom and three-bedroom and larger units.
Condo prices averaged $1,745,464 during the first quarter, slightly higher than a year ago.
Condo pricing gains were led by one- and two-bedroom apartments.
Recent revisions to economic data indicate that New York City weathered the recession much better than economists originally thought.
In total about 140,000 jobs were lost, or roughly 40,000 less than the previous estimate.
Job growth has picked up recently in the higher-paying sectors such as finance and business services, and Wall Street just had its second most profitable year ever.
While cash bonuses fell to $20.8 billion in 2010, this was expected as more firms are deferring compensation and paying higher salaries.
The full version of the report is available on the Brown Harris Stevens website, at the link below: