Real Estate

Manhattan Apartment Prices Soar, Bucking the Trend

Manhattan skyline

Manhattan apartment prices climbed to a record level in the third quarter, defying the trend of the overall U.S. housing market, according to reports released Tuesday.

The average sales price of a Manhattan apartment in the third quarter rose 6.3% from a year earlier to a record $1.37 million, according to the Prudential Douglas Elliman Manhattan Market Overview third quarter report.

The average price per square foot rose 9% to $1,144, also a record, while the median sales price -- where half the apartments sold for more and half for less -- rose 2.3% from a year earlier to $864,397.

The overall U.S. real estate market has been plagued by sagging prices and a rising inventory of unsold homes but Manhattan is among those localities buoyed by unique economies and plenty of wealthy buyers.

Manhattan apartment prices typically rise or fall on the strength of year-end Wall Street bonuses, a factor typically shows up in the first and second quarters.

"It's really still a little early, and in light of the numbers this quarter, we're not seeing any evidence of it being a problem at this point," said Jonathan Miller, director of research at Radar Logic.

Manhattan sales in the quarter rose 65.6% to 3,499, while the inventory of apartments available for sale fell nearly 32%, according to Prudential .

Terra Holdings, parent of real estate brokerage firms Brown Harris Stevens and Halstead Property, said the number of sales rose 41% to 3,677. Terra did not provide inventory figures.

According to Terra, the average sale price rose 26% to a record $1.32 million.

Sales at the high end were boosted by The Plaza, where much of the former Plaza Hotel has been converted into condominiums, and 15 Central Park West, the super-luxury new  development on Manhattan's Upper West Side.

At 15 Central Park West, an apartment sold for $42.4 million in the third quarter, the highest paid for a single unit new condominium, said Gregory Heym, Terra Holdings chief economist.