Median Manhattan home price: $840,000

gramercy_nyc.top.jpgA one-bedroom unit in the Gramercy 19 development in Manhattan is listed for $825,000 -- just slightly below the city's median home price. Les Christie, staff writer


NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Home prices in Manhattan, the nation's most expensive big market, seem to have settled into a rut -- or rather, a high plateau.

Four of New York's biggest residential real estate brokers issued Manhattan market reports Tuesday and all indicated that home prices were, essentially, flat during the fourth quarter of 2010.

The median price of a Manhattan apartment fell 5.6% to $840,000 from $890,000 compared with the third quarter, according to market data computed by Brown Harris Stevens and Halstead. Still, they found that prices were up 5% from the previous year.

Prudential Douglas Elliman had prices down 7.5% quarter-over-quarter, to $845,000, and up 4.3% year-over-year.

Corcoran's figures were down 5% quarter-over-quarter, to $825,000, and up 3% since last year.

A drop from third quarter levels was expected, according to Jonathan Miller, president of Miller Samuel, the top real estate appraisal company in town. It's a seasonal effect that does not represent a downward trend. Instead, he said, the more appropriate comparison is to the last three months of 2009, which indicated the market is on a small upswing.

Both Miller and Diane Ramirez, Halstead's president, reported that last quarter's sales were much more evenly distributed across the price points than they were in the fourth quarter of 2009.

"It was much more of a normal distribution of sales," said Miller, who produces Prudential's market report. "In 2009, with the impact of the first-time homebuyers tax credit, there was a heavy mix smaller sales -- studios and one bedrooms."

Ramirez said high-end apartments accounted a bigger market share this past quarter. There were many very expensive homes sold including a $15 million coop her company sold on Dec. 29.

Many of the high-end sales went to Wall Street workers, whose compensation remains very lush, according to Heym.

"The bonus money is, apparently, going to be strong again this year, $20 billion or so," he said. "There were a lot of pay raises as well. It may not be like the golden years but it is a healthy level."

Those bonuses bolster the Manhattan market because so much of it is cash sales. That's especially true these days with mortgage lenders still not opening their vaults to borrowers for jumbo loans, those of more than $729,250.

Manhattan has a couple of other factors going for it that should help it remain stable over the next year or two.

There have been, for example, very few foreclosures in the city because much of the market is cooperative apartments, where residents purchase shares in a corporation that owns the building.

Coop boards have, historically been much stricter than lenders in evaluating the finances of potential buyers and they withhold sale approval for those who don't pass muster. The boards also require substantial down payments.

Also helping buoy Manhattan prices is a scarcity of new construction. Heym said there were only 505 building permits issued during the first 11 months of 2010. In a county of more than 1.7 million residents, that's a pittance.

The job market in New York is improving as well, with 51,000 private sector jobs created in the 12 months ended Nov. 30, according to Heym. New York's unemployment rate is, for a change, below the national average.

None of the experts is predicting a return to boom times, however. Large price increases are not in the cards for now. Miller, for one, is forecasting many more months of flat or slightly increasing prices.

"I don't see a dramatic shift," he said. "Where we're sitting now is where we'll be sitting a year from now." To top of page


Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Overnight Avg Rate Latest Change Last Week
30 yr fixed4.12%4.00%
15 yr fixed3.14%3.00%
5/1 ARM3.25%3.01%
30 yr refi4.17%4.06%
15 yr refi3.21%3.09%
Rate data provided
by Bankrate.com
View rates in your area
 
Find personalized rates:
  • Find Homes for sale
    Real estate and homes for sale on Trulia

  • Property Type
  • Find a home in: New York | Atlanta | Chicago | Los Angeles
  • Washington D.C | Houston | Philadelphia | More options
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 17,778.15 421.28 2.43%
Nasdaq 4,748.40 104.09 2.24%
S&P 500 2,061.23 48.34 2.40%
Treasuries 2.20 0.06 2.61%
Data as of 9:30pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 17.53 0.27 1.56%
Apple Inc 112.65 3.24 2.96%
Oracle Corp 45.35 4.19 10.18%
General Electric Co 25.14 0.71 2.91%
Microsoft Corp 47.52 1.78 3.89%
Data as of 4:03pm ET

Sections

Russia's economic turmoil has already spread to companies in the West and many brands are bracing for a bigger blow to earnings. More

The shale boom has been a blessing to Texas, but tumbling oil prices are casting a shadow over the state. More

Portland's mayor says the city will create new rules, eventually allowing Uber to operate there. More

With two recent IPOs and a digitally-inclined audience of entrepreneurs, non-traditional financing could finally get its big break. More

Payday lenders are spending millions of dollars in Washington in an attempt to get powerful politicians on their side as a government crackdown on the industry heats up. More

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.