Is NYC, one of the last bastions of high real estate prices, slipping?


If you own real estate in New York, you have been no doubt telling yourself and anyone who would listen that prices here were not going to fall like they were in the rest of the country. Limited supply, increasing urbanization of the country, enduring appeal, tight co-op loan restrictions were probably among your reasons. And if you looked at rental or sale real estate ads for the city, where some studios rent for $4,000 a month or sell for $600,000, you would not worry about a downturn. But now some data suggests New York may not be totally immune.

The S&P/Case-Shiller Index out yesterday showed home prices in 20 major markets were down an average 15.3% from a year ago and 1.3% in the latest month of survey data, April. Yesterday the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise said that nationally home prices fell 0.8% in April and 4.8% over the last year. The Pacific region lost the most--down 2% in a month--and the east south central did best--up 0.9%.

Case-Shiller shows that New York peaked in June 2006 at 215.83 on their scale and has slid steadily ever since. The April number was 193.93 (up slightly from the month before.) But Case-Shiller looks at the whole metro area, all five boroughs, parts of Jersey, Connecticut, Westchester, Long Island and even a bit of Pennsylvania. When people think of New York prices, they think of Manhattan. Today The Real Estate Group of New York issued figures showing an uneven market that has been mostly stagnant all 2008. Across Manhattan non-doorman one-bedroom rental prices are down 4% to $2,859 for the last 12 months. (With a doorman it's up slightly. Two-bedrooms were down a little in both categories.) Of course, I'm a renter and prospective buyer, so I've been telling everyone prices will fall.