by Amanda Fung
Crain’s New York Business
Asked recently to conduct searches for two clients seeking Upper West Side apartments—one seeking a four- to five-bedroom, the other a two-bedroom—Malcolm Carter made a startling discovery. The prices on half a dozen apartments that fit the bills had been raised 3% to 4% since they were first listed.
Among them was a 717-square-foot one-bedroom at Trump International at 1 Central Park West, now listed at $1.295 million—up 4% from five months earlier. Similarly, a four-bedroom at The Laureate at 2150 Broadway is $5.2 million, up 3% from just a month earlier.
“Sellers see any market movement as an opportunity to collect more money for their properties,” said Mr. Carter, a broker at Charles Rutenberg Realty.
These days, many of them are seizing that opportunity, driving apartment prices upward across the city for the first time in three years. Most of the increases fall into the modest 3% to 10% range. While that pales in comparison with the boom years, when prices soared by more than 25% in a single year, it is clear that a turning point has been reached and that higher prices are sticking.
Prices started inching up late last year as the residential sales market began to stabilize after years of slipping. Despite conditions in the rest of the nation, where reports last week showed that new home prices had slumped to a seven-year low, here in the city buyers seem to be betting that there is money to be made once again in owning—or at least wagering that prices will not go down from here. Historically low interest rates and a small supply of new units resulting from the construction drought are also contributing to the rising prices.
“There is pent-up demand, more buyers are out, and there seems to be quite an appetite,” said Adrienne Albert, chief executive of residential sales firm The Marketing Directors Inc. To capitalize on that trend, she recently upped prices 3% to 5% on selected apartments at Apex, a new 44-unit condo development atop the Aloft Hotel in Harlem, and at The Sheffield, the city’s largest—and just two years ago its most troubled—condo conversion. Marketing Directors is the exclusive agent for both buildings.
“The market is now slowly but surely becoming a seller’s market,” Ms. Albert added.
Read the full article in Crain’s New York Business.