2016 ended much as it began – with a variety of mixed signals indicative of shifting market conditions. Average price per square foot was up 6% year-over-year. But its 1% quarter-over-quarter change reflects the steadying of price per square foot since the beginning of the year. Median price dropped 8%, and has had declines every quarter since its peak in First Quarter 2016, as fewer larger apartments closed as compared to earlier quarters. Yet median price per square foot dropped less, at 2% year-over-year, and was up 1% quarter-over-quarter, again indicative of steadying pricing. Similar to the previous quarter, the number of closed sales and contracts signed both decreased versus Fourth Quarter 2015. However, versus a quiet Third Quarter 2016, contracts signed rose. Both active inventory and months of supply increased.
Manhattan overall closed sales decreased 15% year-over-year in Fourth Quarter 2016, dropping to 3,104 closings. Signed contracts were also down, decreasing 15% year-over-year. A combination of factors has influenced changes in the market such as record high prices, the continued undersupply of lower priced and efficiently sized condominium and cooperative units, and the cyclical political and economic uncertainty that comes with election years.
Inventory increased by 16% from Fourth Quarter 2015 to 5,865 active listings. The increase in available inventory combined with the year-over-year fall in sales led to a 31% increase in months of supply, and units spending on average 95 days on market a week longer than a year ago. Average price rose to $1.991M in Fourth Quarter 2016. This increase was influenced heavily by a large number of high-priced new development closings throughout the quarter. The median Manhattan sale price, however, fell by 8% year-over-year to $1.024M, reflecting the fact that the market share of closings achieving $1.00M or more fell by 3% from Fourth Quarter 2015, to 50%.
Median apartment price by size was mixed. Studio apartments had the largest increase, up 7% from last year to a median of $520K, followed by a 6% increase in the 3+ BR median to $4.150M. Price per square foot metrics followed absolute pricing metrics, with the average increasing to $1,851 per square foot and the median falling to $1,324 per square foot.
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Categories: By the numbers