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Fourth-quarter 2007 reports released by Brown, Harris, Stevens, The Corcoran Group and Prudential Douglas Elliman indicated that Manhattan's luxury for-sale apartment market continued to rise.

"The fact that the number of sales of apartments priced over $10 million tripled when compared to a year ago illustrates the continued strength of Manhattan residential real estate," said Hall F. Willkie, president of Brown Harris Stevens. "The factors that make our market healthy continue to provide stability, and we are seeing this positive effect most at the high end."

The residential real estate market in Manhattan finished exceptionally strong in the fourth quarter of 2007, achieving a new record price of $1,430,514 for Manhattan apartments, according to the Brown Harris Stevens report, which added that "Compared to the same period one year ago, the increase represented a 34% gain, and was met by a 14% rise in the median price to a record $828,000."

"The average price for condominiums rose 51% since the fourth quarter of 2006, achieving a new record price of $1,851,709. While this increase was significantly impacted by a 12% rise in the average size for condos sold, all size categories experienced pricing gains. It is important to note that closings at The Plaza and 15 Central Park West contributed to the upsurge, and comprised 7% of all condo sales during the fourth quarter," the report continued, noting that "Also impressive was the new record average price for cooperative apartments; at $1,074,369 it represented a 21% increase when compared to the fourth quarter of 2006."

"At the very high end, the average price for four-bedroom and larger co-ops showed a 37% rise to $8,543,583. The average price for three-bedroom and larger also grew 26%, and was complemented by double-digit increases in average pricing in all size categories," the report maintained.

The report, which was based on 2,531 reported Manhattan apartment sales, maintained that "the outlook for Manhattan's residential real estate remains strong." Gregory J. Heym, chief economist of Brown Harris Stevens, said that the market "continued to buck the national trend last quarter, as prices finished the year at record levels."

The report noted that on the Upper East Side pre-war cooperative apartments had an average price per room in the fourth quarter of $376,877 while postwar units had an average price per room of $238,062.

The Corcoran Group reported that co-op average sales prices climbed 21 percent to $1,197,000 in the fourth quarter compared to the same quarter in 2006 while condos increased 19 percent to $1,720,000 in the fourth quarter compared to the same quarter in 2006.

"Manhattan's Luxury Market - comprised of the top ten percent of all co-op and condo sales - saw the average sale price increase to $5,685 million," up "42 percent from 4Q 2006 in average sale price and up 17 percent in price per square foot," according to the Corcoran report.

The Prudential Douglas Elliman report, prepared by Miller Samuel Inc., found that "Price levels were generally up this quarter, with the greatest price gains seen in larger apartments, specifically 2-bedroom and 3-bedroom units with 22.1 % and 39.8 % gain respectively over the same period last year, with a portion of the increase attributable to an increase in the size of the units actually sold."

The report found that "the number of sales increased 3.2 percent this quarter to 2,518 units as compared to the 2,441 units sold in the prior year quarter" and the "listing inventory fell 13.5 percent to 5,133 units from the prior year quarter total of 5,934 units." "Days on market was 131 days this quarter, faster than the 149 days seen in the same period last year but 8 days slower than the 123 days last quarter," it continued.
Architecture Critic Carter Horsley Since 1997, Carter B. Horsley has been the editorial director of CityRealty. He began his journalistic career at The New York Times in 1961 where he spent 26 years as a reporter specializing in real estate & architectural news. In 1987, he became the architecture critic and real estate editor of The New York Post.