One step forward and two steps back. Such was the story of the Manhattan condo market as October’s modest inventory gain reversed sharply in November. The total number of condos available over the course of the month fell 7.9 percent from October, pulling Manhattan inventory nearly 20 percent below its 5-year monthly average. The market had experienced two months of largely seasonal inventory growth prior to November’s anticipated decline, which was the largest since December 2013.

A mix of colder weather and modest price growth put a chill on condo sales activity in November. Condo prices inched up nearly 1 percent from October, according to the StreetEasy Condo Price Index, and were nearly 10 percent above year-ago levels. Condos that went into contract in November spent slightly more time on the market than those that went into contract a month prior, lingering on the market from 47 days to 58 days. Holidays and colder temperatures help damper demand, delaying the home search for many buyers until the spring.

Nov. 2014 Manhattan Condo Market Report
Nov. 2014 Manhattan Condo Market Report

November’s condo sales volume managed to beat expectations for the month. The total number of pending sales of condos was nearly 3 percent greater than the 5-year historical average for November. Still, the market experienced a significant slowing from October, which is typically the final push for home purchases before the year’s end. November pending sales fell 26.1 percent from October’s buying frenzy, and was 6.6 percent below last November’s volume.

Strong and consistent price appreciation over the last two years put Manhattan condo prices nearly 10 percent above their previous market peak level, but signs point to a slowdown in 2015. Prices fell 1 percent in October and are predicted to fall 0.7 percent in December, according to the StreetEasy Condo Price Forecast. Price growth, which was particularly robust in 2013 at 16.5 percent and slightly less strong in 2014 at 7.0 percent, is expected to decelerate to 3.6 percent in 2015. As the market starts to reduce from a boil to a simmer, more sellers may be induced to put their homes on the market to capture this cycle’s peak prices. Greater inventory and more stable price growth may also empower Manhattan buyers to be aggressive about discounting asking prices in 2015.

See more details on the Nov. 2014 Manhattan Condo Market Report