Real estate south of 34th St. booming

400 W. 12th street. (Linda Rosier)

400 W. 12th street. (Linda Rosier) (Credit: 400 W. 12th street. (Linda Rosier))

Prices just keep going up downtown.

Buyers are flocking to below 34th Street, sending median sales prices in new developments there up 51% compared to this time last year, according to a report from the Corcoran Group Real Estate out Tuesday.

Downtown has also become the go-to spot for richer New Yorkers buying luxe pads loaded with aneminities in trendy neighborhoods such as the West Village, TriBeca and Chelsea that can compete with their uptown rivals.

Meanwhile, the average asking price in the downtown luxury market - which is defined as the top 10% of co-op and condo transactions - overtook uptown and midtown for the first time in a decade in the fourth quarter of 2012, according to data provided to The Real Deal by Corcoran last week.

"Super-high demand for super-luxury new development properties occurred at an extraordinary pace this quarter," Corcoran CEO Pamela Liebman said.

The prices these apartments command -- along with an increase in demand and a dwindling housing stock around the borough -- have fueled the 51% year-over-year increase in the median sales price, according to Corcoran.

Today's report showed the median price for new downtown Manhattan developments increased 16% during the first quarter of 2013, reaching $1.65 million, up from $1.42 million by the end of 2012.

By comparison, prices of new units in midtown buildings from 34th Street to 57th Street saw a 14% drop in prices since the end of 2012. But still, median prices there are 73% higher now than a year ago becauses of sales of larger apartments.

Farther north, the Upper West Side saw a 4% increase in average price per square foot this past quarter, while the Upper East Side decreased 7% since the end of 2012.

Stacey Max, downtown sales manager for Bellmarc real estate, said the surge in downtown apartment prices comes from a drop in the housing stock. The first quarter of 2013 saw housing inventory in Manhattan decline 26% compared with the same period a year ago, according to the Corcoran report.

"New developments are selling in a way that we thought they wouldn't ever again, from floor plans and with no negotiation," Max said. "Combine the citywide lack of inventory, with less housing stock downtown in general, and downtown becoming more appealing to formerly uptown buyers, it's like a perfect storm."

The trend has hit the luxury market downtown as well. Data from Corcoran said pricey digs there hit an average of $2,777 per square foot during the fourth quarter of 2012, The Real Deal reported last week. In uptown and midtown, similar units had an average asking price of $2,685, according to the real estate publication. The Corcoran data was based on a survey of 140 Manhattan luxury condominium and co-op buildings with an average asking price of at least $1,700.

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