Report: Manhattan home sales strong in 2013

The Manhattan sales market had a strong 10-year run between 2004 and 2013, according to a Douglas Elliman report released Wednesday.

The report found that 2013 was the second- strongest year for home sales in 25 years, with 2007 coming in first. The number of sales in the borough rose from 8,653 in 2004 to a high of 13,430 in 2007 over the last decade. Last year, there were 12,735. The lowest total was 7,430 in 2009, during the housing crisis.

Steven James, president of Manhattan Brokerage at Douglas Elliman, said the report illustrates a remarkable resurgence after 9/11.

“New York is probably the safest place on the face of the earth both financially and security wise,” he said. James said the market is mostly driven by foreign investors and by experienced local buyers who want to upgrade to a bigger place.

While the average square foot price for co-ops and condos rose from $767 in 2004 to $1,136 in 2013, James said people prefer to buy instead of rent because owning a home allows them to build equity and qualify for a tax deduction.

Buyers are also looking to take advantage of current interest rates, which are still low from the economic downturn.

According to ycharts.com, a mortgage pricing site, the national rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage on Jan. 23 was 4.39%, compared to 3.38% in Jan. 2013.

Though the market slipped in the downturn, it quickly recovered in about 18 months, James said.

“I think this report is extremely reassuring when you look at the big picture; we should feel very good about living in New York City,” he said. “Yes the market can suffer from bumps and turns, but it’s not going to crash.”