April 1, 2011 / 4:45 PM / 8 years ago

Manhattan apartment prices slip in first quarter

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The median price of an apartment in Manhattan fell in the first quarter as tight credit and a lack of new construction dragged prices down, according to reports released on Friday by New York City’s biggest residential real estate brokerages.

The Corcoran Group put the median price at $800,000, down 2 percent from the year before, while Prudential Douglas Elliman put it at $782,071, down 7.4 percent.

“The market is still fragile,” said Jonathan Miller, who writes the Elliman report.

Condos tend to be more expensive than co-ops, the other major type of owned housing in Manhattan, but their share of the market has fallen to 14.5 percent, the lowest since 2004, Miller said.

The quarter saw the sale of a relatively higher number of cheaper properties because the persistence of broadly weak economic conditions continues to cause lenders to tighten the loan standards, making it hard for home buyers to obtain loans, he said.

“Credit is not easing and you could argue it’s getting a little bit tighter,” Miller said.

Even at the higher end, where getting a loan is not as much of a problem, the lack of new construction is constraining the market because well-heeled buyers do not have enough big apartments to chose from, said Corcoran Chief Executive Officer Pam Liebman.

“We’re really suffering now from the lack of development on the high end,” she added.

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