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Manhattan Housing Market Returning to Normal: Report

The Manhattan housing market is showing signs of a return to historically normal levels of sales and inventory, according to the first quarter 2010 _Manhattan Market Overview_ just released by the locally-based residential brokerage firm ""Prudential Douglas Elliman"":http://www.prudentialelliman.com.

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The improving market of the second half of 2009 had momentum with both sales and prices, both of which carried into the first quarter of 2010, the report said. Sales and a shrunken inventory were at levels consistent with the 10-year average, and there was a slight lift in the city's luxury market.

Based on the findings, the median sales price for a single-family residence in Manhattan during the first quarter of this year was $868,000, down 11 percent from $975,000 a year earlier but up 7.2 percent from $810,000 in the prior quarter.

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Overall, Manhattan's residential prices were lower in the first quarter of 2010 than they were in the first quarter of 2009, but price levels, ""are now moving sideways,"" explained Jonathan Miller, president and CEO of ""Miller Samuel"":http://www.millersamuel.com, the Manhattan-based real estate appraisal firm that prepared the report.

The number of sales surged 99.5 percent to 2,384 sales from 1,195 sales in the prior year quarter, but slipped 3.6 percent from 2,473 units in the prior quarter. Listing inventory was down 23.1 percent compared to a year ago, but up 17.2 percent from the end of 2009. Days-on-market was 124 days, down from 170 days this time last year. Listing discount was 5.4 percent, a definite improvement over the 12.4 percent discount seen in the same period last year.

Listing inventory and days-on-market also fell for Manhattan's luxury market (the upper 10 percent of all co-op and condo sales).

""The New York City housing market was very healthy this past quarter,"" said Dottie Herman, president and CEO of Prudential Douglas Elliman. ""We're very busy and there's been a great demand for housing at all levels. Though we took a bruising, we did not get hurt like the rest of the country.""

Despite the strides made so far, Miller says there remains concern in 2010 over the potential for rising mortgage rates, the expiration of the federal tax break, and an economy that has not established significant improvements in unemployment and mortgage financing terms.

About Author: Carrie Bay

Carrie Bay is a freelance writer for DS News and its sister publication MReport. She served as online editor for DSNews.com from 2008 through 2011. Prior to joining DS News and the Five Star organization, she managed public relations, marketing, and media relations initiatives for several B2B companies in the financial services, technology, and telecommunications industries. She also wrote for retail and nonprofit organizations upon graduating from Texas A&M University with degrees in journalism and English.
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