By Carter B. Horsley
The apartment sales market in Manhattan continued to tighten in the first half of 1999 and The Corcoran Group, one of the citys leading residential real estate brokers, noted that the number of apartments viewed by prospective buyers dropped by a third to 12 from the previous year.
In its mid-year report, The Corcoran Group found that the average net worth and average income of buyers of of 7,485 closed sales of co-op and condo apartments declined slightly over the year to $2,265,000 and $333,000, respectively, apparently a reflection of a 18 percent decline in the sale of large apartments.
The buyers average age fell to 38 from 39 years and only 46 percent were married as compared to 49 percent in mid-1998, it found. A major change in the buyers profile, the study said, was that 42 percent of the buyers cited view/light as the reason for getting a new apartment as compared to only 30 percent the previous year. Space had been cited by 42 percent of the buyers the previous year but this year was cited by only 29 percent, it continued.
While the number of large apartments that sold was down, their prices were not. The average price of apartments with four or more bedrooms climbed 20 percent to $3,920,000, while the average price of three-bedroom apartments rose 7 percent to $1,583,00 and the average price of two-bedroom apartments climbed 8 percent to $611,000.
On the Upper East Side, the report said that the inventory of family-size apartments was scarce and "as the high-end thinned out, the slight change in time on the market and negotiability was due to a 38 percent increase in the number of studio sales." Based on 1,878 recorded sales, the study said that the average studio sale price was up 19 percent to $125,000, the average one-bedroom sale price was up 9 percent to $224,000, the average two-bedroom sale price was up 8 percent to $610,000, the average three-bedroom sale price was up 4 percent to $1,402,000 and the average larger apartment was up 22 percent to $4,340,000.
The average price of a two-bedroom cooperative apartment was $1,156,000 on Fifth Avenue, $830,000 on Park Avenue, and $606,000 on Sutton and Beekman Places.
The Upper West Side, it continued, had the highest average increase of the entire cooperative market and "Central Park West was exceptionally strong as the average sale price rose 35 percent. Based on 1,252 recorded sales on the Upper West Side, it found that the average studio sale price was up 10 percent to $135,000, the average one-bedroom price was up 13 percent to $239,000, the average two-bedroom sale price was up 24 percent to $634,000, the average three-bedroom price was up one-tenth of a percent to $1,648,000 and the average price of larger apartments climbed 16 percent to $2,647,000.
The average price of a two-bedroom cooperative apartment was $1,324,000 on Central Park West, $513,000 on West End Avenue and $625,000 on Riverside Drive, the report, which was compiled by The Corcoran Group and Mitchell Maxwell & Jackson, Inc., an appraisal firm, found.
Condominium sales on the East Side between 42nd and 96th Streets, climbed almost as much in average sales price as co-ops but the average number of days on the market of 1,002 recorded sales fell 14 percent to 141, the report said. In contrast, co-ops on the Upper East Side were on the market for 175 days, 3.6 percent more than the year before.
The average price of a studio condo on the East Side was up 5 percent to $177,000 and one-bedrooms were up 7 percent to $317,000, two bedrooms were up 13 percent to $721,000, three-bedrooms were up 18 percent to $1,338,000 and larger apartments were down 10 percent to $1,551,000, which reflected significantly fewer sales.
On the Upper West Side, the average condo sales price declined 10 percent to $722,000, a reflection of a major jump in the sales of studio apartments. Based on 726 recorded condo sales in the first half of 1999, the report found that the average sale price of a studio was up 26 percent to $214,000, one-bedrooms rose 12 percent to $371,000, two-bedrooms declined one percent to $739,000, three-bedrooms rose 11 percent to $1,578,000 and larger condo apartments rose three-tenths of one percent to $2,889,000.
The report found that the average sale price of two-bedroom cooperative apartments in the Gramercy Park area climbed dramatically from $212,000 in mid-1998 to $418,000 this year, far outstripping the gains for similar apartments in Greenwich Village and Chelsea, which had average mid-1999 sale prices of $482,000 and $488,000, respectively.
"Downtown condominiums were the hottest segment of the residential market, racking up the highest increase in average sale price, and the fewest days on the market," the study added. The average sales price of 582 recorded sales south of 34th Street rose 27 percent to $375,000 and the average number of days on the market fell 21 percent to 132, it said.
Loft sales south of 34th Street had the highest average sale price of in the residential market, $835,000, up 20 percent from the year before, the study found. Based on 530 recorded sales of co-op and condo apartments in this area, it said that the average sale price of 1,000-1,500-sq. ft. lofts rose 18 percent to $471,000, while 1,500-2,000-sq. ft. lofts rose 16 percent to $706,000, and 2,000-2,500-sq. ft. lofts rose 28 percent to $892,000 and larger lofts rose 22 percent to $1,510,000.
In SoHo, it found that the lofts of 2,500 or more sq. ft. had an average sale price of $1,884,000 compared to $1,552,000 the year before. In TriBeCa, it continued, the average sale price of similar units was $1,743,000 compared to $1,318,000 the year before.
The scarcity of available townhouses led to strong prices increases. Based on 127 recorded sales of one- and two-family townhouses, the report said that the average price for an property on the East Side was up 50 percent to $3,912,000, 21 percent on the West Side to $2,059,000 and 29 percent downtown to $1,894,000. It noted that the townhouse at 32 East 70th Street that is built full on its 25 by 100 foot lot sold for $13,500,000 while a 20 by 70 foot townhouse at 12 East 81st Street on a 20 by 100 foot lot sold for $6,200,000.