By Carter B. Horsley
Although price increases slowed a bit in the second half of 1998, the city's luxury residential market continued to soar with average prices up in every category, according to the latest report of the Corcoran Group, a leading residential real estate brokerage..
Based on 16,775 closed sales of co-op and condominium apartments, the report found that the average sales price in 1998 was $515,000, up 11 percent over the previous year, while the average number of days on the market declined 4 percent to 157 days and the negotiability of asking versus selling price declined 0.9 percent to 6.6 percent.
Continuing the trend of the past few years, larger apartments commanded a premium. Apartments of four or more bedrooms climbed 21 percent to an average asking price of $3,548,000 while three bedrooms rose 15 percent to an average of $1,484,000, two bedroom apartments rose 8 percent to $587,000, one bedrooms 17 percent to $245,000 and studios 7 percent to $134,000, the study maintained.
The average buyer, it added, saw only 18 apartments in 1998 as opposed to 21 the year before and 35 percent of them bought without financing as opposed to 33 percent in 1997. The average income of the average buyer in 1998 was $374,000 as opposed to $305,000 in 1997 and the average net worth climbed to $2,314,000 from $2,064,000 in the same period. While the percent of buyers who were self-employed declined from 33 to 31 percent, the percent of buyers who were in the finance professions rose from 15 to 19 percent.
The average price of 4,172 cooperative apartments on the Upper East Side that were sold in 1998 and tracked by the Corcoran Report was up 10 percent to $621,000, while the average price of the 2,814 cooperative apartments on the Upper West Side climbed 25 percent to $478,000. The report found that the largest gains on the Upper East Side cooperative market were recorded in the Sutton and Beekman area, 24 percent, followed by both Fifth and Park Avenues at 15 percent. The average price of 105 cooperative apartments sold on Fifth Avenue was $1,900,000 while 221 sales on Park Avenue averaged $1,557,000 and 255 sales in the Sutton and Beekman area averaged $593,000. On the Upper West Side, cooperatives had the tightest negotiability of any area in the city and the average prices of studios and one-bedroom apartments were the highest in the city. The average sales price of 2,814 cooperative apartments sold was up 25 percent to $478,000. Central Park West apartments showed the largest gain with 102 apartments sold at an average price of $1,309,000, followed by Riverside Drive where 114 apartments sold at an average sales price of $582,000 and West End Avenue where 166 apartments sold at an average price of $459,000.
The study said that the average price of 2,492 condominium apartments sold on the much of the Upper East Side in 1998 was up 11 percent to $671,000. Between Fifth and Park Avenues and 51s' and 86th Streets, 108 condos were sold at an average price of $1,540,000 last year compared to $1,300,000 in 1997. Between Lexington and Third Avenues and 57th and 87th Street, 201 condos were sold last year at an average price of $735,000 as compared to $71 1,000 in 1997. Between Second Avenue and the FDR Drive and 42nd and 79th Streets, 237 condos were sold at an average price of $554,000, down slightly from $557,000 the previous year.
The West Side condo market was stronger. The 2,183 condo sales in the report had an average sales price of $716,000, up 16 percent from 1997 and considerably higher than their counterparts on the Upper East Side. Large apartments in particular were up markedly as condos of four or more bedrooms sold for an average of $3,906,000, up 68 percent for the year. Between 59h and 69th Streets and Central Park West and Amsterdam Avenue, for example, 13 apartments of this size sold for an average of $5,037,000 as compared to 10 such apartments selling for an average of $2,253,000 the previous year.
Downtown cooperative apartments, the report continued, rose 10 percent in average prices last year to $264,000 with a 13 percent gain in studio prices, the largest in the city. The Gramercy area showed the highest overall gain of 21 percent, followed by Chelsea at 13 percent.
Downtown condominium apartments were up in average sales price 17 percent in 1998 to $329,000 with the West Village showing the highest gain, 31 percent, followed by Murray Hill at 25 percent and Union Square at 17 percent.
The Corcoran report said that average Downtown loft sales soared 29 percent in 1998 to $901,000 with SoHo rebounding from the previous year when TriBeCa lofts had a higher average sales price. In SoHo, 75 sales had an average price of $1,057,000, up 44 percent from the previous year's average of $735,000, while 150 sales in TriBeCa had an average sales price of $821,000 as compared to $744,000 in 1997.
Townhouse sales were also up dramatically, 25 percent higher in 1998 than in 1997. The average on the East Side was $3,243,000 compared to $1,903,000 on the West Side and $1,637,000 downtown. There were 202 recorded sales of one- and two-family townhouses.