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New York City’s economy has performed much better than expected during the recession. Job losses have been significantly less than forecast, and the turnaround on Wall Street has provided a great boost to the City. Over the past few months there have been indications that the local economy has stabilized and is now ready for growth.
In February, New York City’s unemployment rate fell for the second straight month. Wall Street bonuses rose 17% in 2009, to $20.3 billion, which is welcome news for the real estate market. The heath care and education sectors of the economy continue to be a source of strength, adding 10,000 jobs from February 2009 to February 2010. Interest rates have remained historically low, despite the Federal Reserve’s announcement that is was stopping its purchase of mortgage-backed securities at the end of March.
There were 2,299 first quarter closings recorded at the time of our report, 92% more than the first quarter of 2009. A year ago, the effects of the collapse of Lehman Brothers were very evident in the dramatic decline in apartment sales, with the first quarter of 2009 marking a low point in closings. While closings are still not back to where they had been prior to the recession, the improvement is evident.
A similar statement can be said about prices. While the average Manhattan apartment price rose for the third consecutive quarter, it still remains 9% below the level of a year ago. Due to the time that passes between when contracts are signed and when sales close, prices didn’t begin falling dramatically until the second quarter of 2009.
Coop prices averaged $1,079,195 in the first quarter of 2010, 11% higher than a year ago. This number must be viewed with caution, however, as the increase in average price is due solely to an increase in the average size of co-op sold. Co-ops sold in the first quarter of 2010 were on average 12% larger than a year ago, so it would be logical to expect the average price to go up. This trend towards bigger apartments is also evident in the fact that three-bedroom and larger co-ops comprised 14% of the co-op market in the first quarter of 2010, up from just 8% a year ago.
At an average of $1,730,415, condo prices were 9% lower than during 2009’s first quarter. Smaller units saw the biggest price declines, as the average price fell 13% for studio and 12% for one-bedroom condos from a year ago.
The full version of the report is available on Halstead’s website, click on the link or the graphic below to view:
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