As the spring selling season comes to a close, Manhattan condo prices showed early signs of easing as more units were available to buyers – although prices remain much higher and inventory remains much lower than year-ago levels.
The StreetEasy Condo Price Index (SECPI) fell 1.4 percent from April, signaling a slow-down of runaway price appreciation that had lasted since April 2013. The slow-down is expected to continue, according to the new StreetEasy Condo Price Forecast (SECPF), which predicts a 0.3 percent decline in prices in June.
Total for-sale inventory rose by 2.7 percent from April as sellers placed units on the market in time for the busy Spring season. Although there have been five consecutive months of inventory gains, the number of condos available in May was 14.5 percent below the five-year monthly average, and essentially unchanged from April 2013.
Inventory in May was skewed towards condos in the most expensive price tier, with approximately 47 percent of all listings priced above $1.9 million. Roughly one in five (21.9 percent) listings were in the least expensive price tier (below $910,000). The skewed inventory meant that there were far fewer condos available in the bottom price tier than in the middle or top tiers.
The combination of greater overall inventory and softening prices helped to boost the number of pending sales in May. Pending sales, or condos that entered into contract, jumped 9.6 percent from April. The median time on market among these condo sales was 49 days, unchanged from April and the shortest time period recorded by StreetEasy.
Some would-be buyers are still reeling from the extraordinary rally in price appreciation in 2013, fueled in large part by record-low levels of inventory. The market still has a long road ahead in terms of returning to historically normal levels in inventory, but this Spring was certainly a welcome start for buyers.