Construction Activity in New York Remains Steady Despite Economic Uncertainty

While the year 2002 was marked by the economic ups and downs of a turbulent stock market, the lingering effects of September 11th and fears over new terrorist attacks and impending war in the Middle East, the real estate market and the construction industry showed remarkable stability.

Real Estate Market Weathering Storm

In fact, average sales prices of some of New York's prime residential real estate remained unchanged or dipped only slightly, according to the Corcoran Group. The Year End 2002 Corcoran Report notes that marketwide, the average sales price of New York City's co-ops did not change while condo prices dropped an average of three percent. Sales prices in Manhattan even rose in all segments of the market, except for the high-end luxury apartments, where prices of co-ops tailed off seven percent, and condos, five percent.

The average sales price for co-op apartments in 2002 was $700,000; compared to $697,000 in 2001. The average sales price of a typical condo was $1.037 million compared to $1.069 million in 2001, the report says. The average sales price of a studio apartment was $218,000 in 2002, up six percent from the $205,000 recorded in 2001. A one-bedroom rose to $400,000 from $372,000 reported in 2001, an eight percent increase while a two-bedroom was priced at $854,000 compared to $802,000 in 2001, a six percent increase. The average sales price of a three-bedroom co-op stood at $2.117 million, but that is seven percent less than the $2.279 million recorded in 2001, according to the Corcoran Group. Among condos, the average price of a studio apartment was $332,000, 12 percent higher than the $296,000 recorded in 2001; one bedrooms were $529,000 compared to $526,000, an increase of one percent; two-bedrooms, $1.110 million compared to $1.049 million in 2001, a jump of six percent; and the price of a three-bedroom condo dropped five percent, going from $2.462 million in 2001 to $2.330 million in 2002.

Construction Activity, Development Stable

And, according to the New York Building Congress (NYBC), the construction outlook is a lot brighter than one would expect. "Construction activity in New York is expected to remain relatively stable throughout 2005 and potentially beyond, based on an analysis of capital budgets, private sector development plans and other indications. There is, however, a considerable level of uncertainty about the future, given current market forces and projected budget gaps in Albany and City Hall," the NYBC report says.

Industry experts are optimistic that future construction activity should continue near record levels as long as there is the appropriate political will to proceed with vital capital projects in the commercial and residential sectors. The big question, however, says the NYBC, is the availability of the necessary financing to move projects from the planning to construction phases.

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