Summertime Sadness? Manhattan Records Slowest Q3 Since 2008

Posted by Ashley Murphy — October 9, 2018

Stribling & Associates logoNEW YORK, NY - Stribling & Associates, a leading New York residential brokerage, today releases the third quarter Manhattan Market Report. The report, the only to cover sales, contracts and inventory levels across the borough, noted a record level of supply, while the number of contracts and sales slowed to near-recession levels. 

"There is no way to spin it. When looking at the overall picture, this was the worst performing third quarter since the recession of 2008," said Garrett Derderian, Director of Data & Reporting at Stribling. "Not to say some areas of the market did not perform quite well, but the overall picture is much more bleak." Total sales, at 2,332, were down 11% from this time last year, and down 31% from a record Q3 in 2013.

The luxury threshold, which Stribling defines as the top 10% of all sales, also fell. The threshold in the third quarter was $3.85 million, down from $4.18 million one year ago. Still, Derderian noted, "There were 18 sales recorded for $20 million or more, compared to 10 one year ago." As with the last quarter, the super-prime market continued to diverge from the rest of Manhattan in terms of a large percentage increase in sales. As for a reason why, Derderian explained, "As negotiability rises and we enter what appears to be a market correction, the opportunity can present itself for aggressive investors with available capital to pick up high-value assets at discounted prices."

Derderian went on to discuss emerging trends shaping the submarkets in Manhattan. "One area we closely watch is Midtown East, which contains the eastern most portion of 'Billionaires' Row.' For condo sales, this market saw an average discount of 10%. The only other area that recorded such a discount was the Financial District/Battery Park City condo market. Both markets average and median prices also trended similarly."

In Midtown East, oversupply and waning demand for luxury housing are the oft-cited reasons for large discounts. The potential concern for FiDi/BPC is the ongoing building boom in Lower Manhattan. "There are currently 14 new or planned condo developments in the area, adding a considerable amount of inventory to what is already a heavily discounted market. While the new inventory will certainly not hit the market all at once, the additional supply will put downward pressure on prices as buyers' options continue to grow."

While sales data provides the best price indicator, Derderian pointed to the importance of contracts signed to determine current activity trends within the quarter itself. "The total number of contracts signed was down 16% in the third quarter from this time last year. More importantly, this was the least number of contracts signed in a third quarter since the recession."

Across Manhattan, contract prices remained largely flat from this time last year, as properties lingered on the market and seller's adjusted expectations. However, four-plus bedroom cooperative units saw drastic price rises. "The increase in high-priced transactions was not reserved for condos," Derderian revealed. "There were three four-plus bedroom co-op contracts signed for $20 million or more, compared to zero in the third quarter of 2017. While not a record number of contracts, it does indicate there are buyers willing to strike a deal for a uniquely positioned property."

The Upper West Side was also a bright spot for condo contract activity. The area captured 20% of all contracts and saw double-digit price increases. "New development deals on the Upper West Side continued to thrive in the third quarter and were the driving force behind the [price] increases," Derderian advised. "While the area is experiencing somewhat of a building boom, inventory is being absorbed at a healthier rate than other submarkets in the city."

Inventory in Manhattan continued to increase in the third quarter, hitting a new high. "Without a doubt, there is an oversupply of inventory on the market," Derderian reported. "From a seller's perspective, pricing becomes more difficult, as you are now competing with developers who can offer additional incentives, and resale sellers who are reducing their prices, usually more than once, as their properties remain on the market."

As for a look ahead, Derderian offered, "The current market conditions are somewhat perplexing, as the financial markets are quite strong, and interest rates, although rising, are still near historic lows. Typically, that points to a robust housing market. However, the perception that prices were overheating, coupled with the increasing level of supply, has overshadowed the health of the economy at-large. Ultimately, the inventory will be absorbed, but the question is, at what price."

Highlights from Stribling & Associates 3Q Manhattan Market Report:

  • Median sales price was $1,135,000, down 3% year-over-year
  • Average sales price was $1,978,726, up 0.7% year-over-year
  • Average price per square foot was $1,403, down 9% year-over-year
  • Average days on market: 137, up from 106 one year ago
  • There are 7.9 months of supply, up from 5.9 last year
  • 30% of inventory was priced above $3 million
  • 15% of sales were priced above $3 million
  • Market-wide average discount from initial ask was 6.4%

Recorded Sales:

  • There were 2,332 recorded sales to date, an 11% decrease from one year ago
  • Co-ops made up the largest share of closings, with 55%
  • Condos totaled 44% of all deals
  • Condos were the most expensive, with an average PPSF of $1,633
  • 1BR units captured 38% of all sales
  • 4+BRs, with 5% sales, had the highest average PPSF of $2,149
  • Downtown captured the greatest share of closings, with 32%, and was the most expensive market with an average PPSF of $1,673
  • No condo markets saw median or average price increases
  • Financial District/Battery Park City condo market recorded the steepest declines, with the median price down 25% and the average price down 28%
  • Upper Manhattan co-ops saw the healthiest price increases, with the median price up 12% and the average price up 7%

Contracts Signed:

  • Total contracts signed decreased 16% to 2,212
  • 1BRs made up 38% of all contracts signed
  • 3BR condos saw the greatest condo increases, with the median price up 3% and average price up 5%
  • 4+BR co-ops saw the great price increases, with the median price up 29% and the average price up 17%
  • Downtown averaged the highest PPSF, $1,808
  • Downtown had the largest apartments at 1,557 square feet
  • Upper West Side condos recorded the strongest price improvement across all metrics
  • Upper East Side and Upper Manhattan co-ops showed the healthiest price improvements


  • There were 7,487 units on the market at the end of 3Q18, a record
  • Condo units made up the largest share of inventory, with 50%
  • Condo units had an average PPSF of $2,086
  • Co-op units were the most affordable, with an average PPSF of $1,276
  • 1BRs made up 31% of inventory
  • The $1-3M bracket totaled 38% of inventory
  • Downtown measured 30% of all inventory
  • Upper Manhattan condos saw the greatest price appreciation, with the median up 8% and the average up 4%
  • Upper East Side co-ops totaled 29% of the co-op market
  • Downtown co-ops saw the greatest price declines, with the median down 10% and the average price down 15%

About Stribling & Associates

Stribling & Associates, Ltd. is a premier residential real estate firm with over 300 agents throughout five locations across Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Long Island City. As one of the most renowned brokerages in New York, Stribling uses its respected expertise in the current market to provide individualized services to both buyer and sellers. Stribling agents specialize in the sale of luxury townhouses and cooperative and condominium apartments. The company's philosophy is based on professional, personalized services coupled with exceptional knowledge of key residential market trends. Stribling Private Brokerage specializes in the discreet marketing of properties over $5 million and commands a prominent market share in that sector of Manhattan residential real estate. Through strategic partnerships with Miami's Cervera and international estate services firm Savills, Stribling's global reach extends to more than 700 offices worldwide

Share this post

Search Press Releases

Recent Blog Posts

Just Listed | Amazing in Abacoa | 1136 Town Center Drive #22

Echo Fine Properties, Echo Fine Properties — Jun 01

How Local Charleston Restaurants Continue to Serve During A Pandemic

NV Realty Group - South Carolina, NV Realty Group - South Carolina — May 27

Which of these million dollar-plus homes fits your personality best?

Savvy + Co. Real Estate, Savvy + Co. Real Estate — May 27

Mountain Modern Lifestyle

Telluride Properties, Telluride Properties — May 27

Coldwell Banker Introduces Over 800 Acre Aspen Valley Ranch For $220 Million

Carrie Wells, Coldwell Banker Mason Morse — May 26