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Manhattan Apartment Drought: Units on Market at Lowest Point in 15 Years

July 2, 2013 / usifredo


Not only can you not afford to buy a Manhattan apartment — you can’t even find one now.

The number of apartments for sale in Manhattan is at its lowest point in 15 years, real-estate data show.

“Buying a large apartment on Fifth Avenue is now as easy as getting the latest Hermes Birkin bag,” joked Pamela Liebman, CEO of The Corcoran Group real-estate firm.

“The good news is that everyone from around the world wants to call New York home. Unfortunately, there is a lack of inventory.”

The number of apartments listed for sale was 4,795 this quarter, down from 6,981 during the same quarter last year — a 31.3 percent drop, according to a second-quarter market report from real-estate company Douglas Elliman.

It’s happening because of tight credit, said Jonathan Miller, who prepared the Elliman report.

“There is no short-term inventory relief in sight,” he said.

The number of available apartments peaked at 12,336 in the first quarter of 2009, stats show.

That means there were 52 percent more homes for sale at that point than there were this quarter, Corcoran says.

With so few apartments available, many think it’s a seller’s market.

That’s not the case, Liebman warned.

“While inventory shows no signs of easing any time soon, it’s not an anything-goes market for sellers. Savvy buyers won’t even look at overpriced properties,” she said.

And people lucky enough to find their dream pad better have the cash — prices for all types of apartments in every neighborhood are still sky-high.

The median price for an apartment in Manhattan is $850,000, the same as last year, reports real-estate firm Brown Harris Stevens.

And according to Elliman, the average apartment sale price is $1.42 million this quarter — up 5.2 percent from last quarter and up 1.2 percent from the same quarter last year.

A median studio now costs $419,000 — up 19.7 percent from $350,000 for the second quarter of 2012, Elliman says.

Also, one-bedrooms now cost a median $665,000, up 2.3 percent from this time last year, Elliman said.

Three-bedrooms are going for $2.62 million, up 6.7 percent from $2.46 million this time last year.

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