It’s time to play the quarterly round-up game, when contestants vie for your attention by comparing much-awaited quarterly sales numbers with those of last quarter and last year. We have picked what we feel are the highlights of each for your reading pleasure.
Our first contestant is Prudential Douglas Elliman. It prefers the smell of fresh flowers and all that the theatre scene has to offer. Its quarterly report notes that: “There were more sales in the first quarter of 2011 than in any first quarter in 3 years or since the credit crunch in 2008,” 0.4% more than 2,384 in the same period a year ago and 4.3% more than 2,295 in the prior quarter. Prices slipped by 9.9% to a median of $728k, all while listing inventory fell 5.3% to its lowest first quarter levels in three years.
Our second contestant is Corcoran. It likes Pina Coladas and long walks on the beach. Its quarterly report notes that: sales were up 6% versus this time last year, with inventory remaining steady. Prices are looking playful according to Corcoran, with average prices up 2% while and median prices down 2%. At a more granular level, submarkets are providing a better picture of what’s happening out there:
“For example, resale condominium median price is up 11% versus a year ago and average price per square foot is up 5%. But new development median price is down 5% and average price per square foot is down 6%. Why the difference? The supply of new developments is decreasing, as the lack of construction financing for developers means there are very few new properties coming online now. This is particularly true at the high-end of the market, where most luxury new developments are completely or nearly sold out. As a result, the new development sales that do occur are in lower-priced properties, bringing the average down. Demand for condominiums is therefore shifting to the resale market, driving prices there higher.”
Our third contestant is Halstead. It prefers fewer words than most, enjoys traveling the world and describes itself as a foodie. Its quarterly report notes that: “After six consecutive quarters of growth, the average apartment price fell to $1,364,733 in the first quarter of 2011. This was 5% below the prior quarter, but virtually unchanged from the first quarter of 2010. The median price, which measures the middle of the market, fell 4% from a year ago to $787,500. There were 1,769 reported sales in the first quarter of 2011, 23% less than a year ago.”
Our last contestant is Streeteasy. It considers itself more straightforward than most, preferring a home-cooked meal to a night out on the town. Its quarterly report notes that: “Median closing prices declined from last quarter but experienced an overall average price increase by 3.5% to $1.373M. Inventory increased, with 383 new listings coming onto market every week in this quarter, an increase of 41.5% since last quarter. Condos made up 47.3% of all available listings on the market (co-ops 50.0%, townhouses 2.7%). 2,309 listings went into contract, a 10.1% increase from last quarter’s number of new contracts (2,097). 28.1% of all Manhattan listings had price cuts, for a total of 3,930 price cuts, 0.9% fewer cuts than last quarter, and 1.7% fewer cuts than a year ago.”
So whose batting eyelashes have attracted your interest? What’s certain is that the market is creating a new foundation upon which to build. Buyer and seller sentiment is consolidating (as our latest index readings show) and is being stoked by improving macro-economic trends.