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How to Know When the Price Is Right for a Co-op or Condo

New York City

Is the Price Right?

The market for co-ops and condos may be soft, but fire-sale discounts are not recommended.

Feb. 4, 2020

The prewar Park Avenue co-op apartment was originally listed for $6.75 million in 2017. It finally sold last month, after numerous price cuts and three years on the market, for $4 million

“Welcome to the new normal,” Nikki Field, the Sotheby’s agent behind the deal, tells the New York Times. “We’ve been behind the market and chasing it downward.”

As the city’s real estate market continues to struggle, with values seeming to erode within the course of months, figuring out how much to charge for co-op and condo apartments has become increasingly difficult, according to sellers, brokers and appraisers. And it isn’t just at white-glove buildings on Park Avenue. Of the co-ops and condos that closed between $1 million and $2 million in Manhattan last year, 83 percent were discounted, up from 79 percent in 2018, according to StreetEasy. The trend went across the board. Of all the condos and co-ops that closed in 2019, a hefty 81 percent needed at least one price cut before landing a buyer, up from 76 percent in 2018. 

Some basic rules can add a dose of realism, agents say. Only recent sale prices, and not list prices, should be used to estimate property values, they explain, and aggressive fire-sale-style discounts, which can look desperate, are probably not the best idea. Sellers also should probably abandon hope that simply unloading a home will turn them into instant billionaires. 

“This isn’t a market where aspirational pricing works,” says Frederick Peters, the chief executive of the brokerage Warburg Realty. “The bottom line is, it’s not about what the price should have been three years ago. It’s about being in tune with what the market is today.”

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Learn all the basics of NYC co-op and condo management, with straight talk from heavy hitters in the field of co-op or condo apartments

Professionals in some of the key fields of co-op and condo board governance and building management answer common questions in their areas of expertise

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