While real estate prices remain stunted across the nation, property values are slowly but steadily climbing in New York City, according to a new report.
A report released by the Real Estate Board of New York on Wednesday said citywide home values in the second quarter of 2012 increased 6 percent compared to 2011. Home sales are “stable and steady,” according to REBNY.
While the overall citywide home prices increased 6 percent, in some neighborhoods property value is spiking. According to REBNY, the average sales price of a condo in the Gramercy and Kips Bay area increased 20 percent compared to last year. The number of sales in that area shot up 41 percent.
Similarly, on the Upper West Side, condo sales were 18 percent more than in 2011, and the average condo price increased 16 percent, according to the report.
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Manhattan always has been a draw to buyers, helping the New York real estate market recover more quickly than elsewhere in the U.S. after the 2008 downturn.
"[Manhattan] typically bounces back faster than other markets," said Citi Habitats president Gary Malin.
In fact, this summer is the ideal time for New York home shoppers, some brokers said.
“It certainly is a good time to buy,” said Michael Slattery, REBNY senior vice president of research. "I think people are starting to feel more confident,” he added. “I think there’s more confidence that we are on solid footing in the housing market, and I think that has kind of given people the willingness to jump in, and the willingness to pay slightly higher prices.”
Jumping in now is ideal, he said, before prices get even higher.
“You want to feel confident that your investment is not going to lose money, and that over the long term it’ll appreciate,” he said. “Those two conditions are certainly true now.”
Bond New York vice president Kelly Killian predicts the golden moment soon will be over, and advises her clients to bite the bullet and buy now.
She estimated that single- and multi-family homes are about 2 to 3 percent higher this year than last year in parts of Queens and Brooklyn.
“The joke during the recession was that it was the revenge of the buyers,” she said. “Slowly but surely, it is moving to revenge of the sellers."
Interest rates ideal
Citi Habitats president Gary Malin added that interest rates are low, also an attractive bonus for buyers.
“You’re going to get one of the lowest rates, if not the lowest rate ever,” he said. “When money is as cheap as it is to borrow, that’s always a good opportunity to buy.”
Still, Malin cautioned, real estate has proven unpredictable.
“None of us have a crystal ball,” he said. “Anything could happen.”
Where to find a good deal
Malin suggested the Upper East Side, east of Third Avenue, or the Financial District, where many brand-new condos still have openings. In Manhattan, according to REBNY, the neighborhoods with the most activity during the second quarter of 2012 were the Upper East Side, the Upper West Side and the Gramercy and Kips Bay area.
In Brooklyn, the most sales were in Williamsburg, Bedford Stuyvesant and Park Slope. In Queens, Flushing was the most popular neighborhood for buyers.
The Bronx is the only borough where prices didn’t increase, according to REBNY – the average price of a home went down 6 percent, to $322,000. Slattery attributes this to persistent economic woes. “I think it didn’t really have a lot of the new development, still struggling with a very high unemployment rate,” he said. “That has led to its lagging.”
Still, the Bronx neighborhoods that saw the most activity are Parkchester, Westchester Square, Castle Hill and Soundview.