Manhattan apartment sales reach highest level in 25 years

Reuters

Jan 3 (Reuters) - Sales volumes of Manhattan apartments jumped 30 percent in the fourth quarter, a report on Friday showed, as buyers put aside concerns about the strength of the overall economy and pushed inventory levels to historic lows.

The report by Douglas Elliman Real Estate showed there were 3,297 sales in the closing months of 2013, the most since the company's records began 25 years ago. The supply of units was down to 4,164, or its lowest level in 14 years.

The median sales price for condos in New York City hit $1.32 million, up 14.3 percent from last year. The median sales price for co-ops, which comprise the bulk of sales, was $680,000, up 4.6 percent since last year.

Experts said increasing mortgage rates and dwindling inventories had prompted many buyers to finally take the plunge.

"There was a sense of timing to be in, and that carried through in the last two quarters of the year to record levels," said Jonathan Miller, president of Miller Samuel Inc., a New York City real estate appraisal and consulting firm.

Miller said he expects to see modest, single-digit price growth this year, after the heightened activity of 2013.

"I don't see this as sustainable," Miller said. "I do see it being active in 2014, but I look at 2013 as more of an anomaly, a blip in terms of activity."

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