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Manhattan condo sales drop in last quarter of 2011

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condo Photo Credit: Getty Images

The volatile economic uncertainty that shook the globe and spooked investors late last year was an apparent drag on Manhattan's housing market.

A total of 2,011 co-ops and condos were sold at the end of the fourth quarter of 2011, a whopping 35% drop from the third quarter and down 12.4% from the fourth quarter of 2010, according to a report released Wednesday by Prudential Douglas Elliman.

The report painted a relatively muted picture of NYC real estate compared to a stellar third quarter: The median sales price for homes in Manhattan was $855,000 in the fourth quarter, an uptick of just 1.2% from a year earlier and down 6.2% from the third quarter.

"Although the preceding quarter was one of the most active sales periods of the past four years, this most recent quarter had fewer sales than we would have liked to have seen," said Jonathan Miller, whose firm authored the Elliman report.

During the third quarter, industry insiders credited the weak U.S. dollar and keen foreign interest for an "atypical" sales surge of condos in the nation's most expensive housing market.

Miller predicted that Manhattan's market in 2012 would probably be similar to 2011, given the continuing economic angst.

Other reports released Wednesday showed similarly dreary figures for last year. StreetEasy.com, a property listings website, found that co-op and condo sales were down in the fourth quarter, totaling 2,403 -- a 19% drop from a year earlier.

But the various reports also indicated that the luxury end of the market was doing better -- as evidenced by the slate of multimillion-dollar deals struck in Manhattan in the fourth quarter.

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By the numbers: Manhattan housing in the fourth quarter of 2011

35%
Drop in the sales of co-ops and condos from the third to fourth quarters of 2011

2,011
Total co-op and condo sales in the fourth quarter of 2011, down 12.4% from the same period in 2010

7,221
Active listings at the end of the quarter, down 2.6% from the 10-year quarterly average

$855,000
The median sales price of a co-op/condo, up 1.2% from the same period in 2010

Source: Elliman Report

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