NYC real estate sales market: Prices stable but still high, experts say

Buyers this fall may have better luck looking for properties from an investment perspective rather than aiming for affordability.

With prices high across New York City, potential buyers need to research effectively to find deals and consider neighborhoods that are poised to grow.

According to StreetEasy, as of Aug. 17, the median sales price in Manhattan so far this year was $1,088,000, up from $990,000 in all of 2015.

Though Manhattan’s median sales price has now topped $1 million, in the last year the ultra-luxury market has struggled to sell its most-expensive units, noted Gary Malin, president at the real estate firm Citi Habitats. As a result, sellers might be more conservative with their pricing as they try to move properties.

Ultra-luxury units have struggled to sell this year not just in Manhattan, but across the country, from Miami to San Francisco and Los Angeles.

“The high end of the market is definitely trying to find its new legs,” Malin said.

The below-$3 million market — which by Manhattan standards is “more affordable,” Malin said — is performing better this year in terms of sales, meaning buyers are responding to those prices, when they can find them.

“I think that buyers will be able to get some better deals [this fall and winter] than they’ve seen, but I don’t think it’s going to apply to every building and every neighborhood,” Malin explained. “Go out there and look at the market, and really work with someone who knows the overall market.”

There are some new buildings opening in the middle market, assured Ondel Hylton, digital content manager at the listings site CityRealty.

For example, at The Style, a two-building, 31-unit boutique condo at 51 E. 131st St. and 48 E. 132nd St. in East Harlem that opened this year, the average price per square foot is $945 and studios start at $398,800.

At The Aurum, a 115-unit condo at 231 Adam Clayton Powell Blvd. in Central Harlem that opened last year, the average price per square foot is $1,093 and studios start at $470,000.

Beyond Harlem, parts of Brooklyn may be a more affordable option for buyers, too. The median sales price in the borough was $685,000 as of Aug. 17, according to StreetEasy.

Hylton said Bedford-Stuyvesant and Bushwick in particular have caught his eye as the real estate and business boom in Clinton Hill pushes east, making them promising neighborhoods to invest in.

“The amount of construction there is a lot and they’re priced very well,” he said, referring to townhouse conversions and new boutique condo projects he’s seen while scanning city building permits.

For example, at 443 Bainbridge St. in Bed-Stuy, a two-story brick home is being replaced by a four-story condo slated for completion in 2017, with a studio slated to sell for $425,000 and three one-bedrooms for $445,000 each.

At 159 Tompkins Ave., a 10-unit condo being built this year in Bed-Stuy, two-bedrooms start at $768,064.

In Bushwick, the 18th Ward, a four-story, 27-unit condo going up this year at 305 Cooper St., averages at $680-per-square-foot with studios selling for $329,000 and one-bedrooms for $425,000.

“It’s pretty unbelievable,” Hylton said. “I never thought these neighborhoods would be on the radar for condos.”

Krishna Rao, an economist at StreetEasy, added that Downtown Brooklyn is also a good place to buy property — for those who can afford it.

In July, the median sales price in Downtown Brooklyn was $920,000, up 1.4% from June and 6.7% from July 2015, according to StreetEasy.

“There’s been a lot of rezoning in the area, [the Barclays Center] is coming along,” he said. “Now can be a great time to get in because the area does seem primed for growth.”

Here is a look back at the sales market last fall and winter in New York City, according to data from CityRealty between Sept. 22, 2015, and March 23, 2016:

— Total average sales prices increased from $2,493,880 to $2,881,523

— Total average sales volume decreased from 1,767 to 1,498 units

— Biggest average price increase: Midtown East, rose from $2,666,607 to $6,057,841

— Biggest average price decrease: Central Park West, fell from $4,694,925 to $1,810,741

— Biggest sales volume increase: SoHo, rose from 20 to 46 sales

— Biggest sales volume decrease: NoHo, fell from 23 to 6 sales