Manhattan Property Sales Spike on Fears of Tax Hikes

The price gains, however, were largely on the luxury end. In looking at the median prices, where half sell for higher and half sell for lower, prices for co-ops were up just 2.1 percent in the fourth quarter. Condominium prices actually fell just under one percent. (Read More: Extravagant Home Features of the One Percent.)

The median price in the luxury market, however, was $4,440,150, up 7 percent from a year ago, according to Douglas Elliman. The luxury market represents the upper 10 percent of all co-op and condo sales.

“The year-end jump in sales was a function of proactive tax management by property owners. Although it wasn’t clear what form the tax hikes related to housing would take, it was assumed that 2013 would be higher than 2012,” noted Jonathan Miller, CEO of Miller Samuel, which provides the Elliman report data. (Read More: Million Dollar Winter Wonderland Homes.)

Prices in Manhattan are still about 6 to 7 percent off their pre-recession highs, but low supply will likely narrow that gap in 2013. Strong demand from foreign, all-cash buyers is also boosting prices, especially in the condo market. Gains, however, may slip in the current quarter, as so much demand was pulled forward.

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