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Manhattan Condos Saw Biggest Price Drop in Nearly 4 Years, Report Says

By Amy Zimmer | May 30, 2014 6:27am
 Manhattan condo prices may have finally hit a ceiling, according to StreetEasy.
Manhattan condo prices may have finally hit a ceiling, according to StreetEasy.
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MANHATTAN — Manhattan condo prices saw a 1.4 percent dip in April from the month before, according to a report released Friday by the search site StreetEasy.

Though not a huge decline, it's the greatest monthly decrease in nearly four years, signaling that prices might have reached their peak and could begin to drop, or at least remain stable, the report says.

"While sellers still have the upper hand in the marketplace, buyers may be gaining some traction in bringing prices back down to earth,” said Alan Lightfeldt, a StreetEasy data scientist.

After the "ambitious and aggressive" price increases that led to a record-breaking finish to 2013 and strong start of 2014, "we may have approached the upper price limit to where buyers are willing or able to meet sellers," Lightfeldt said.

The Manhattan median sales price was $1.3 million with the median price per square foot at $1,339 in April, the report found.

Even if prices level off, they may still be prohibitively expensive for the majority of house hunters. There's a growing disconnect between supply and demand as the bulk of buyers are looking for lower-priced homes that are not on the market, the data show. 

Nearly half of the condos on the market are in the "top tier" in terms of pricing, meaning they are listed for $1.9 million or more.  Roughly 32 percent are in the middle tier (between $895,000 and $1.9 million) and 21 percent in the bottom tier, the report shows.

But the majority of searches conducted on StreetEasy — some 59 percent — were for bottom- and middle-tier-priced condos, according to data compiled for DNAinfo.

The three most popular searches were for homes priced up to $500,000, up to $600,000 and up to $1 million, StreetEasy found.

"It shouldn't shock or surprise anybody that sellers are going to have to adjust their prices downward, even just a little bit," Lightfeldt said.

The increasingly large share of high-priced homes may indicate that those homes were unable to sell as quickly as others, he noted.