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Prices for Manhattan pads soaring


amny Credit: Marie Claire Andrea

In the last three months of 2010, the average sale price of a Manhattan apartment soared for the sixth consecutive quarter — a sign that the city’s economy is further blossoming out of the depths of the recession, according to a report released yesterday by real estate firm Brown Harris Stevens.

At $1,432,787, the average apartment sold at a rate 8 percent higher than a year ago. The boost was largely fueled by the whopping 17 percent increase in the average price of co-ops sold during the last quarter of 2010, compared to the same period in 2009.

“The [city’s] economy is getting progressively better,” said James M. Gricar, executive vice president of Brown Harris Stevens. “We’ve added a decent amount of jobs, and unemployment is the lowest it’s been in 18 months,” which is fueling higher demand for housing, he said.

But there’s a catch. Gricar pointed out that with so little new construction, buyers are doing their shopping from a smaller housing inventory.

Barbara Fox, president of Fox Residential Group, said the uptick means “there’s a lot of optimism.”

Is this a sign of even better times to come?

“I hope so,” she said, “but I’m cautious.”

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