top line numbers are so … top line
The graph associated with this Property Shark report about median prices for coops, condos and 1- or 2-family homes by New York City neighborhood, with 2012 v. 2011 and 2012 v. 2008 data, was all over the intertubes this week. If you are reading Manhattan Loft Guy, chances are close to 97% that you’ve seen it. (If you are not reading Manhattan Loft Guy there must be some sort of break in the space – time continuum.)
You could look at the graph and say Lofts Rule! as the two most prime of prime Manhattan loft neighborhoods lap the median price field, and other loft neighborhoods come in at #5, #7, and #9, but resist that temptation, please. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, and/or are generally familiar with The Miller’s work, you know why Tribeca and Soho sit at the top of the neighborhood list by median sales price. The main reason is that nearly the entire market in these two neighborhoods is composed of properties that would be the top one or two quintiles in more heterogeneous neighborhoods.
paging Garrison Keillor
Tribeca and Soho are the Lake Wobegons of the New York market, as essentially all of the sales here are above average. As Joe Biden might say, literally. I had to go back through more than 600 records on the (current, still-needs-updating) Master List of Manhattan Lofts Sold Since November 2008 to find 100 downtown Manhattan loft sales under $1mm, and only 12 of them were in Soho or Tribeca, yet 7 of the Top Ten neighborhoods have 2012 median sales prices under a million, with only Midtown inching into 7-figure territory at $1,027,500.
As The Miller would say in interpreting market stats (as he did say in reviewing 4Q12 data) the mix of properties sold in a quarter is what often drives the median numbers that get all the headlines. In the overall Manhattan residential real estate market, when 1-bedrooms and studios make up a larger part of the data set, median prices are pushed down. (Which is why he always gives quarterly data broken down by apartment size.)
I am not going to look it up (not sure there is a place to do this anyway) but Tribeca and Soho have comparatively few sales equivalent to 1-bedrooms and studios elsewhere. (And I don’t mean One Bed Wonders that can be larger than 3-bedroom apartments.) Trust me on this.
Note to readers … always look at the distribution of properties by size when looking at Manhattan median price reports.
© Sandy Mattingly 2013