NEW YORK TIMES February 17, 2002

Sales and Prices in Manhattan Fell in 2001: Town House Market Slips

Coming off a boom, the Manhattan town house market experienced a slip in sales and average prices last year, according to the Insignia Douglas Elliman Manhattan Town House Report.

The study covering sales of one- to five-family town houses from Battery Park to West 116th Street and East 96th Street recorded 89 closed deals last year, down 12.7 percent from 102 in 2000. "This is the first time sales have fallen below 100 since 1993," said Jonathan Miller, president of the Miller Samuel appraisal company, which prepares the Elliman report. In 1993, there were 91 town house sales recorded in Manhattan; in 1994, there were 118; in 1995, 106, followed by 177 in 1996 (the recent peak), 135 in 1997, then 115 in 1998 and 110 in 1999.

The average sales price for town houses declined 6.5 percent last year, to $3,538,000 from $3,783,818 in 2000. Pointing out that the slippage comes off a very strong market, Mr. Miller said last year's average "is still nearly double the average of $1,852,827 in 1997."

And to put the town house data in further perspective, Mr. Miller said that it constitutes 1.1 percent of the entire Manhattan market. "The average price for the 7,858 co-op and condo sales in Manhattan last year," he said, "increased 10.3 percent, to $849,763 from $770,091 in 2000, and it has jumped by 89.6 percent since 1997, when it was $448,162."