01/16/2012 05:34 pm ET Updated Mar 17, 2012

Toni's Take on Real Estate: Manhattan Is a Market All Its Own

New York City may be busy, fast-paced, and stunningly diverse but there's at least one thing about it that's surprisingly stable: Manhattan has a strong, steady real estate market unlike anywhere else in the country. Though the housing market is in flux across the U.S., Manhattan real estate remains a great investment.

For one thing, Manhattan has seen a 1.2 percent increase in median sales price over the past year. This increase, coupled with a decrease in discounts from the listing price, bodes well for the overarching stability in the Manhattan market. 1.2 percent is a modest sales price increase of course, but when compared the rest of the country's deeply depressed market, the City's slow and steady rise is a bona fide bright spot.

So what is it that makes Manhattan a stable investment? There are few explanations behind the health of the City's housing market. For one thing, sellers can count on the reliable influx of foreign buyers seeking Manhattan real estate. House hunters across the globe continue to be lured by a weak dollar and the enduring cache of owning in one of the world's most desirable cities.

Another explanation goes back to elementary economics: good old fashioned supply and demand. The dearth of new construction and developments in New York City has left buyers clamoring for any and all desirable property. Here are some stats: Back in 2008 (when the economic outlook seemed far rosier) there were 9,700 filings put in to build new housing. Compare that to 2009 when there were just 1,363 following the economic crash. And in 2010? Just 704 filings. No wonder buyers are chomping at the bit.

I have seen this on an anecdotal level as well. Two new Manhattan developments are selling out fast and furious: 130 West 12th Street has 44 units. I've heard that there are 33 contracts out in just one month's time -- and roughly 5 price increases. It used to serve as housing for St. Vincent Hospital, and it's certainly a sweet property: the building is full of superb finishes and it's luxurious on every level.

The second is the Toll Brothers' building on 65th Street and Lexington Avenue: The Touraine. Even more telling? It's not even built yet: the building's address, 132 East 65th Street is still a hole in the ground.

So although the market forecast looks gloomy elsewhere, Manhattan's outlook remains calm, temperate, and downright attractive. The demand is certainly there and prices are on the rise. New York may be one of the most exciting cities in the world... but for buyers it remains a pretty safe investment.