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The Manhattan Real Estate Market Had Its Best Q4 In 25 Years

More New Yorkers bought residential property in the fourth quarter of 2012 than they had in 25 years, according to a recently released report by Douglas Elliman Real Estate, probably over worries over the fiscal cliff.

“There were a record 2,598 sales in the fourth quarter as looming changes to federal tax laws and general economic improvement elevated activity in an already improving housing market.”

As sales rose, listing inventory plunged, falling 34.2% to a 12-year low of 4,749. The pace of the market quickened, with the monthly absorption rate falling to 5.5 months, nearly half the 10.8 months a year earlier and the second fastest rate since 2000, according to the report.

“The market appears to be poised for some level of price appreciation in 2013, considering historically low mortgage rates that drive sales, coupled with a chronic shortage of active listings, which are at their lowest level in more than 12 years.”

But price indicators gave mixed signals in the fourth quarter—median sales prices slid 2%, but average sales prices rose 1.1%. Average price per square foot declined 3%, though sales activity was up 3.4%.

The prices of 2 and 3 bedroom apartments rose, while the prices for studios, 1 bedroom and 4+ bedroom apartments fell.

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