The number of signed contracts for "luxury" apartments in Manhattan in the First Quarter of 2013 was the strongest since 2007, according to Pamela Liebman, chief executive officer of The Corcoran Group real estate brokerage company.
"The market-wide trend of declining inventory continued this quarter with a 26 percent decrease compared to last year. This is the eighth consecutive quarter of year-over-year inventory decline; we are now 50 percent below the inventory peak of First Quarter 2009," she continued.
Sales activity of Manhattan luxury for-sale apartments has been "remarkably consistent" for the past three years "as the market settled into a stabilized period following the onset of the credit cruch marked by the bankruptcy of Leman Brothers in the fall of 2008," according to a report for Elliman by Miller Samuel Inc. on the decade that ended in 2012.
"The peak year for the number of sales in the decade occurred in 2007, reaching 13,430," the report said, noting that last year the total was 21.8 percent below 2007, which "was the top of the housing/credit boom, considered an anomaly rather than a normal period of housing sales."
The average monthly rental price for "luxury" apartments in Manhattan at the end of 2012 was $3,973, up 10 percent from the end of 2011, although the average rental price per square foot declined to $49.88 from $52.25 in the same period, according to an Elliman Report.
The report found that the number of new rentals on the market at the end of 2012 was 2,901, up 20.5 percent from the previous year figure while the days on market climbed to 57 from 37 the previous year.
The median rental prices downtown declined slightly from the end of 2011 to the end of 2012 for studios and one-bedrooms, but increased a bit for two-bedrooms and 38.1 percent for three-or-more bedrooms, the report said.
The "luxury" for-sale apartment market in Manhattan was strong at the end of 2012 as the number of listings fell significantly from the prior year and sales totals in the Fourth Quarter were the highest in a generation.
The Elliman Report indicated that its listings dropped to a 12-year low of 4,749 and the monthly absorption rate fell to 5.5 months, the second fastest rate since 2000.
An improved economy and concerns about the "financial cliff" and changes in tax laws lead to a record of 2,598 sales in the quarter, according to the Elliman Report, adding that average sales price edged 1.1 percent higher to $1,461,473 from the prior year (see table at the right).
One normally thinks of a great block of townhouses as having two sides, but 79th Street between Fifth and Madison Avenues is a rare example of such a street with only one side full of impressive townhouses.
Fortunately, it is the south side so that they are not darkened by shadows cast by the high-rises on the north side that benefit from the great views created by the low-rise height of the townhouses.
The block is great, furthermore, because the quality of the townhouses is mansion-level generally, meaning they are mostly wider than 20 feet and are faced with more luxurious material than brownstone and that some of their detailing is exquisite and interesting.
At 785 Fifth Avenue, the vestibule serves as a holding area for mobile brassy luggage racks.
Next door at 781 Fifth Avenue, the Sherry Netherland Hotel, the vestibule serve the dual jobs of exhibiting the wall reliefs of singing putti from an old Vanderbilt mansion while hotel patrons and disco dancers at Doubles negotiate the hotel's very impressive revolving door under the gaze of the doormen.
Manhattan luxury apartment sales in the Third Quarter of 2012 were the highest since 2007 while inventory is the lowest level ever, according to Pamela Liebman, chief operating officer of The Corcoran Group, which released its report yesterday.
The study reported 3,832 apartment sales in the Third Quarter, 17 percent more than the same quarter in 2011, and it found that market-wide inventory fell 22 percent in the third quarter from the previous year to 7,041 available listings.
"Consumer confidence is clear with a 125 percent increase in sales since market's lowest point in the First Quarter of 2009," Ms. Liebman continued, adding that "Manhattan's reputation has solidified as a safe haven for investment amidst global economic uncertainty." "Low mortgage rates, combined with record high rental rates are both contributing to buyer and investor interest," the study maintained.
The small, triangular Duane Park between Greenwich and Hudson streets in TriBeCa was the first open space acquired by the city for use as a public park in 1797.
It is bounded by Duane Street on the south and Duane Street on the north. The north one ends at Hudson Street where it gets a street sign a few feet short of the next cross street, Thomas Street.
Perhaps more importantly, the asymmetrical park is considerably smaller than the available street space.
Such eccentricity and history, of course, would not necessarily qualify Duane Park as a "great park."
One of the great things about Broadway that is generally underappreciated are the seating areas in the center islands that permit one to gaze up and compare rooflines diagonally across from one another.
Normally, of course, this is not too fruitful a pursuit, especially since the perspective is often difficult and the rooflines not always inspiring.
But occasionally it can be surprising and quite interesting.
Nowhere else can this be found so dramatically as at 90th Street where the Art Nouveau "vinery" atop The Cornwall apartment building on the northwest corner makes one rethink love affairs with really large cornice overhangs as can be found at the Astor Court on the southeast corner.
A few intersections are great because all of their corners are filled with extraordinary architecture that is uniform.
Some intersections are great because the wonderful architecture of its buildings contrasts boldly and memorably.
Other intersections become great when an eyesore is removed and replaced with a well-designed building that heals the urbanistic wound and thus gives new "life" to the surrounding buildings.
That is the case at West End Avenue and 86th Street where a large, new luxury residential condominium building has replaced a 5-story, orange-brick building of little distinction on the southwest corner. The now elegant and quite visible intersection is only a block from a subway station and a cross-town bus stop 86th Street and Broadway.