04/10/2012 03:15 pm ET Updated Jun 10, 2012

Manhattan Market Report: First Quarter Highlights

It's about that time again, the first quarter Manhattan market reports are out and all of the major players have weighed in, all painting the picture of a stable real estate market here in New York City. Douglas Elliman's market reports are produced in conjunction with Miller Samuel to provide the most comprehensive and neutral market insight available. Here are the highlights:

  • Average Sales price increased 0.8 percent from the 1st quarter of last year
  • Price per sqft increased 6 percent
  • There were 2,311 sales for the 1st quarter, a 14.9 percent increase from the last quarter, but a 3.5 percent drop from same quarter of 2011
  • The number of active listings slipped slightly by 0.6 percent to 7,560 from last year, but is a 4.7 percent increase from last quarter
  • Days on the market saw a significant increase from 127 to 152
  • Absorption rates fell a full month to 9.8 from 10.8 last quarter
  • Listing price discounts increased from 4.5 percent to 6.3 percent
  • There were 2,621 contracts signed in the 1st quarter, a 23.5 percent increase over the same period last year

Manhattan continues to show stability and still remains one of the standout housing markets in the U.S. Despite some of the rockier indicators, the slowing increasing average price point combined with the enormous increase in pending sales, has me enthusiastic. While there has been a lot of positive attention focused on the luxury market lately, low mortgage rates have driven studio and 1-bedroom sales activity to their highest levels in more than two years. Sales slipped slightly from prior year quarter.

The S&P's downgrade of U.S. debt, paired with the European debt crisis, Wall Street bonus concerns and large swings in the stock all contributed to the market's slowed pace. Despite all this, inventory remains tight and buyers are purchasing listings that have been on the market longer, as indicated by the significant increase in days on the market. Absorption rates decreasing by a full month is another good gauge. Despite an uncertain economic future in our region and the world as a whole, we anticipate an active spring housing market. Check out the complete Douglas Elliman first quarter Manhattan market report here. If you would like to know what your home is worth today let us know and we can find that number out together.