The iconic San Remo on Central Park West in Manhattan. Photo courtesy of Katherine Gloede.
The iconic San Remo on Central Park West in Manhattan. Photo courtesy of Katherine Gloede.

Stribling & Associates is out Tuesday with its first quarter of 2019 Manhattan Market Report, which revealed the continued slowdown in total sales, which saw a yearly decline for the sixth straight quarter, but noted an uptick in contract activity, in what could be a promising sign for the Spring market ahead.

"The first quarter of 2019 performed much like the previous four quarters," said Garrett Derderian, chief data officer at Stribling. "The difference now is borough-wide sales prices do not reflect current market conditions." This phenomenon, where the overall sales price is increasing amid a market-wide slowdown, has been building over the past several quarters.

The total number of sales, at 1,821, was down 11% compared to the same period one year ago. The report showed that as sales slowed, discounts were on the rise. In the first quarter, the average discount from initial list price to sales price was 9%. However, all properties that sold for $1 million or more recorded double-digit percentage discounts, with the greatest being for home sales $20 million and above, which average a 27% discount.

Closings at super-prime developments, including 220 Central Park South, have caused the Manhattan-wide average to climb despite abundant market discounts. These units initially entered contract up to several years ago when the market was stronger.

"It is much more important to look at contract activity when judging housing conditions. The increase of the average sales price is an inaccurate market indicator. With that said, there was a 4% increase in contracts signed, positive news for the market," said Derderian.

Still, it is the price brackets that are seeing an increase in the number of contracts that are the most important to understand current conditions. All price brackets up to $3 million recorded a percentage increase in contracts, as did the bracket for deals $20 million and above. The greatest price weakness was observed in the $3-20 million tranches, where much of the new development market is priced.

Contract activity for properties priced between $3-5 million dropped 14% in Q1, while the $5-10 million bracket was down 12%, and sales priced between $10-20 million dropped the most, at 20%. According to Derderian, "There is a real trepidation regarding the sheer number of units that are, or will be, coming online at these price levels. The market simply cannot absorb all current and upcoming inventory, new development and resale, at a pace that can sustain these prices."

The report also indicates that we may now be reaching a point of inflection, as sellers price more aggressively to the current market and buyers reengage. That, in addition to the recent slide in mortgage rates, could bode well for a stronger Spring market.

Highlights from Stribling & Associates 1Q Manhattan Market Report:

  • Median sales price was $1,135,000, up 3.2% year-over-year
  • Average sales price was $2,062,470, up 3.7% year-over-year
  • Average price per square foot was $1,438, down 3.0% year-over-year
  • Average days on market: 161, a 52% increase from one year ago
  • There are 7.9 months of supply, up from 6.8 last year
  • 27% of inventory was priced above $3 million
  • 16% of sales were priced above $3 million
  • Market-wide average discount from initial ask was 9%

Recorded Sales:

  • There were 1,821 recorded sales to date, an 11% decrease from one year ago
  • Co-ops made up the largest share of closings, with 57%
  • Condos totaled 41% of all deals
  • Condos were the most expensive, with an average PPSF of $1,698
  • 1BR units captured 41% of all sales
  • 4+BRs, with 6% sales, had the highest average PPSF of $1,984
  • Downtown captured the greatest share of closings, with 30%
  • Upper West Side condos recorded the greatest median price increase
  • Midtown condos measured the greatest average price increase
  • Financial District/Battery Park City condos had the greatest discounts, averaging 16%
  • Upper West Side co-ops had the greatest median price increase

Contracts Signed:

  • Total contracts signed increased 4% to 2,465
  • 1BRs made up 38% of all contracts signed
  • 4+BR condos had the greatest median price decline, down 18%
  • 1BR condos had the greatest average price decline, down 9%
  • Downtown averaged the highest PPSF, $1,809
  • Downtown had the largest apartments at 1,740 square feet
  • Upper West Side condos saw the greatest declines, with the median price down 18% and average price down 21%
  • Upper East Side co-ops recorded the great price declines, with he median price down 24% and the average price down 16%


  • There were 7,310 units on the market at the end of 1Q19
  • Condo units made up the largest share of inventory, with 47%
  • Condo units had an average PPSF of $2,052
  • Co-op units were the most affordable, with an average PPSF of $1,200
  • 1BRs made up 32% of inventory
  • The $1-3M bracket totaled 38% of inventory
  • Downtown measured 29% of all inventory
  • All markets yielded lower prices on one or more metrics
  • Downtown totaled 34% of all condo inventory
  • Downtown condos had a median price decline of 9% and average drop of 5%
  • Upper East Side co-ops totaled 28% of the co-op inventory
  • Upper East Side co-ops saw a median price decline of 15% and average drop of 19%