In their first quarter 2015 report, major New York-based real estate brokers, The Corcoran Group, observes that the beginning of the year typically sets the tone for the Manhattan market and the first quarter results for 2015 were positive. Their studies show Q1 exhibited the highest number of sales for any first quarter in over six years. Closed sales increased 12% versus the same period for 2014, after two consecutive quarters of year-over-year decline.
Inventory further tightened with 1% fewer listings than a year ago and days on market dropped 6%. Given these dynamics, the Manhattan market is notably under-supplied. At the rate of sales over the past year, the number of currently listed apartments in Manhattan is equivalent to just 3.8 months of supply, well below the six to nine months considered market equilibrium. Buyer competition, especially for lower- priced units, is significant.
Median and average price climbed market wide, with median price up 6% year-over-year and average price per square foot up 5%. The median price of studio, one, and two bedroom apartments all increased compared to last year, however three bedroom and larger residences actually decreased over the same period as more sales in this category shifted to the resale co-op market from new developments.
Buyer confidence in the Manhattan market, economic and population growth and low interest rates combined to help closed sales increase year-over-year (12%) and quarter-over-quarter (7%). An uptick in new developments completing construction also contributed to the sales growth. First Quarter 2015 reported contracts signed rose, by 5%, versus First Quarter 2014, indicating that next quarter may also see a higher sales figure.