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Manhattan co-op prices are spiking, but they're still a better deal than condos

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In the market for an apartment? Then you'll probably be disheartened to learn that according to the latest Douglas Elliman sales market report, the median sales price for Manhattan co-ops just set a 28-year high at $850,000. Additionally, the median price for resale properties, the majority of which are co-ops, also hit a 14-year record high, at $995,000.

This is not surprising, according to appraiser Jonathan Miller of the firm Miller Samuel, the author of the report, who says that the increase in prices, perversely, comes out of the traditional gap in prices between condos and co-ops.

"Co-ops have been flirting with price records for years," he says. "Co-ops tend to be less expensive than condos, and consumers are on a desperate search for affordability. Inventory in the co-op market is sliding and remains tight." 

Not that the condo market, largely new housing skewed to the higher end, is offering bargains: the median sales price for Manhattan residences increased 6.3 percent this past quarter, to $1.7 million. 

There is a silver lining of sorts in the latest stats: co-op listing discounts—the spread between the asking price and  actual purchase price—widened significantly, from 2.6 percent a year ago, to the current 9.5 percent. In other words, co-op sellers are asking for even more than the record prices on the ledger, but not always getting them.

Even the luxury market, or the top 10 percent of all co-op and condo sales in prices, had a similar discount increase, going from 2.9 to 7 percent. 

"Sellers had to travel a lot further to meet the buyer. The reason is buyers aren't budging... There's a lot more capitulation going on," Miller says.

Cold comfort for the buyer paying more than her or she would have last year.

For more on how to negotiate sales prices down, see our guides here and here. Keep in mind that the competition is the stiffest, and buyers have the least room to negotiate, at the lowest price levels.

 

 

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