The Brooklyn Bridge in New York
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A handful of reports released Thursday shows New York’s housing market is in recovery.
updated 7/1/2010 9:26:14 AM ET 2010-07-01T13:26:14

A handful of reports released Thursday shows the Big Apple's housing market in recovery, though headwinds like high unemployment, tight credit and shadow inventory still linger.

Manhattan home prices edged up in the second quarter as sales surged from their lows last year.

Low mortgage rates and relatively affordable prices helped to lift sales of condominiums and co-op units by as much as 81 percent from last year, depending on the report. Sales activity is now at levels averaged over the last decade.

The median price for an apartment ranged from $800,000 to $899,000, an increase of 3 percent to 8 percent from last year, the reports showed.

Prices were buoyed by more sales of larger apartments, said Jonathan Miller, president and chief executive of real estate appraisal and consulting firm Miller Samuel Inc., which analyzed the data for Prudential Douglas Elliman.

Sales of three-bedroom apartments made up 18 percent of all sales, compared with 12 percent a year ago, he said.

New buyers came into the market and helped create bidding wars, said Pamela Liebman, president and CEO of The Corcoran Group. A survey of Corcoran agents showed that in two-thirds of bidding wars in the second quarter, the winning offer was at or above the listing price.

Sellers received 96.6 percent of their asking price, up from 92.6 percent in the same quarter last year, according to the Brown Harris Stevens report.

And fewer sellers offered price cuts this quarter, and some even asked for more, according to's report. There were 190 price increases in the second quarter, up 46 percent from a year ago.

The number of homes on the market fell from last year as did the amount of time an apartment spent on the market before being sold, the reports showed.

Still, there are 6,500 units that are complete or near completion waiting to come on the market that could dampen the rebound. And while mortgage rates have bumped around historic lows in the last two months, credit standards remain tight especially for so-called jumbo loans, or mortgages over $729,750. About half of all Manhattan sales would require a jumbo loan.

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Unemployment in the area also hovers just below 10 percent, another obstacle for the market.

"We're better than where we were," Miller said, "but the best case going forward is that we move sideways for a little while."

The reports from The Corcoran Group, Prudential Douglas Elliman, Brown Harris Stevens and analyzed between 2,522 and 3,600 sales in the second quarter.

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