First Quarter Report of Residential Sales in the City
Sales of homes and apartments in the first quarter showed little change from year-earlier levels. A spurt in buying in the Bronx and Queens was nearly totally offset by a lackluster sales in Manhattan and Brooklyn and a big drop in Staten Island, according to a new report.
During the first quarter, there were 9,035 sales transactions in the five boroughs, compared with 8,999 in the first three months of 2011, according to the report compiled by the Real Estate Board of New York, or REBNY, a powerful industry trade group.
Borough by borough, however, the picture varied widely. In Queens, the number of sales jumped 13% to 2,919, while the Bronx saw sales numbers surge 14% to 549. Meanwhile, the number of transactions barely budged in Manhattan, inching up by a mere 10 deals to 2,635, while in Brooklyn sales rose 4% to a total of 2,375. Only Staten Island, recorded a drop, a steep 44% fall to 557 sales. The report tracks closed sales of condos, co-ops and one- to three-family homes.
“For the first time, Queens and the Bronx did better compared to Manhattan and Brooklyn,” said Michael Slattery, senior vice president of research at REBNY, noting that the lower price points in those boroughs attributed to the uptick in activity.
Prices also held relatively firm across the city. The median sale price slipped 2% to $450,000 during the first quarter, while the average sale price declined 1% to $723,000.
“The market is holding steady,” said Mr. Slattery. With the arrival of the traditionally busy spring market and near-record-low mortgage interest rates, he expects prices to hold up through the end of the summer.
In total, roughly $6.53 billion worth of homes traded hands in the first quarter, just $40 million shy of the totals the same period of 2011. However, that total was up 20% from the final quarter of 2011, according to the report. In the first quarter, the sale of Manhattan properties continued to account for over half, about 56%, of the dollar volume of sales.