For the first time in three years, you technically don’t need a million bucks to afford an apartment in Manhattan.
The Manhattan real estate market continued its decline at the end of 2018, with the median sale price falling below $1 million, though industry experts say the severity of the decline has diminished, according to the market report from Douglas Elliman released today.
The median sale price was down nearly 6%, from $1.06 million in at the end of 2017 to $999,000 in the last quarter of 2018.
New developments saw the largest price drop — from $2.744 million in the last part of 2017 to $2.045 million in the fourth quarter of 2018. The resale market saw a less steep price drop, falling from just over $916,000 to $942,500.
And more good news for buyers: Resale inventory rose for the fifth consecutive year, nearly 12% to 6,092 units, while bidding wars were the lowest they have been in six years, with the most growth seen in studios and one-bedroom apartments.
But this means bad news for sellers, as the number of closed sales fell for the fifth consecutive quarter, dropping about 3%, from 2,514 closings in the last quarter of 2017 to 2,432 at the end of last year.
Jonathan Miller, the president of real estate appraisal firm Miller Samuel, which produced the report in conjunction with Douglas Elliman, noted that the size of decline eased up as economic factors — such as the new tax law that took effect in 2018 and the Federal Reserve raising interest rates last year — caused buyers to face uncertainty.
“The numbers and the metrics don’t seem as negative as what we saw a year ago,” Miller said. “Sales are down five quarters in a row, but the heavy declines were in the beginning of the year. I’m not sure what that means other than, if anything, the reset of the market occurred sharply a year ago as people grappled with the changes — the new tax law, rising interest rates and tariffs.”