The Citibank-sponsored panel called “Life Uptown: A Profile of the Washington Heights/Inwood Community” and attended guests—co-op and condo board members, residential property managers, shareholders and unit owners and real estate professionals—were treated to a hosted dinner on the stage of the United Palace, an elaborate Depression-era Art Deco theater that radio and televangelist Rev. Ike supposedly decorated in real gold to hide his accumulated wealth.
Manhattan Market Overview
Panelist Gregory Heym of Terra Holdings spoke about the state of the real estate market in the Upper Manhattan neighborhoods of Washington Heights and Inwood, while Citibank's Todd Meyer, the bank’s home lending officer, discussed the financial profile for buildings.
“Basically, in Manhattan, particularly Upper Manhattan, people are saying that the market is sluggish and there aren’t a lot of buyers. Especially in Upper Manhattan, prices are still rising, buyers are still being frustrated, and sellers are still being aggressive on pricing,” said Heym, chief economist at Terra Holdings.
Heym said you look at how long apartments are on the market to determine a typical selling pattern. “Basically for the last couple of years, Upper Manhattan had the lowest resale days in the system. It’s relatively affordable compared to the rest of Manhattan.” People are looking for affordable but quality places to live, he said. “A lot of the growth that we’ve seen over the past year, in fact most of it, in pricing, has been in the middle to the low end of the market,” Heym said.
Considering resale apartments, not new developments, he said, the average price is down over the past year. “But what is moving is the middle. The median price, in which half the sales are lower, half are higher, hit a record high in the first quarter for resales, and are sitting at almost one million dollars right now. “ Demand is still high, he said. If you think of a starter apartment, it’s up here priced at around $300,000 to $600,000.