NYC Apartment Sales Rise; Prices Drop Slightly, Remain Unreasonable

Good news, fans of high rents and obscene real estate prices! According to a new Prudential Douglas Elliman report, apartment sales in Brooklyn and Queens actually rose in the last quarter of 2009 -- Brooklyn's by 13.4 percent, and Queens' by a whopping 55.6 percent -- versus the prior year. And the Real Estate Board of New York says citywide sales were up 20 percent from the 3rd to the 4th quarter; even sales value went up.

It's not all good news for realtors: They had to lower prices a little to effect the sales -- median prices dropped by 8.7 percent in Brooklyn and 7.9 percent in Queens. And the sellers still grouse that it's not like the gravy days when you could stick a condo on a crackhouse and charge the moon.

But the places are moving, so they may have reversed the nondo trend of condos devolving to rentals that cropped up with the bursting of the real estate bubble. That means the raising of their hopes, and the dimming of ours: Instead of torching or abandoning their properties, leading to the collapse/correction New York really needs to get housing prices back in line with reality, property owners are now more likely to offer small discounts and hang in there, confident that no one will pay less than half their salary in rent, or less than a king's ransom to buy, ever again.

Oh yeah, another Prudential report says rents are dropping, too -- by as much as 9.4 percent in Manhattan. But as they posit a "median rent" for a Manhattan studio of $2,100, we don't think that'll help matters much.

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