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USA Real Estate Blog

Uncertainty driving the Upper Manhattan housing market

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Photo: Robert Clark

A surge in upper-tier sales drove prices upward in the Northern Manhattan market in the third quarter of 2018, according to a new report by New York brokerage Douglas Elliman.

Overall sales were down as new inventory flooded the market and buyers remained cautious.

“The uncertainty in the market, caused by the new tax law, rising rates and confusion about the economic direction is removing the sense of urgency,” CEO of the appraisal firm Miller Samuel and author of the report Jonathan Miller tells Livabl.

The Upper Manhattan market consists of the Harlem, East Harlem, Inwood, Washington Heights and Fort George neighborhoods.

The median sales price of an Upper Manhattan home, including co-ops and condos, jumped 13.9 percent year-over-year to $599,000 in the third quarter. At the same time, the average price rose a modest 5.4 percent annually to $755,753.

Sales fell 13.5 percent from last year but a 17 percent surge in sales in the $500,000 to $1 million price tier skewered prices upward in all tiers. The third quarter marked the fourth consecutive quarter of double-digit sales declines.

The overall pace of the Upper Manhattan market is expected to slow despite a coming inventory boost.

The pace of the market is expected to cool with a 13.5 percent decline in sales and a 46.5 percent rise in supply. The slowdown in the pace of sales is expected to continue as is the remainder of the island does,” says Miller.

The median price of a new construction unit fell 29.6 percent from last year to just over $1 million in the third quarter.

Meanwhile, the median sales price rose 18.5 percent year-over-year to $379,000 in the popular Inwood neighborhood — considered one of the last truly “affordable” New York City neighborhoods. Sales fell 21 percent from last year as homes sat on the market an average of 140 days, up from 68 days in the third quarter of 2017.

Median Harlem co-op prices soared nearly 68 percent year-over-year to $350,000 as sales plummeted 42 percent. At the same time, median Harlem condo prices decreased a modest 2.6 percent annually to just over $1 million — the only condo sub-market to record an annual price decline in the third quarter.

In East Harlem, median condo prices skyrocketed 57.4 percent year-over-year to $644,291. Sales were up sharply in the neighborhood as inventory fell.

Click here to read the entire report.

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