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Manhattan Real Estate Sales Are On The Rise

|Includes: RealBiz Media Group Inc. (RBIZ)

The Manhattan spring market posted very activities and generated more sales compared to the same period last year, brokerage firms reported. Douglas Ellman Real Estate said although inventory has been rising since reaching an unprecedented low at the end of last year, the supply of apartments for sale still remains unusually low.

"We saw the highest number of listings sell at or above their asking price in nearly six years," Douglas Elmman's spring report said. It added, "Sales have been rising for nearly two years and the co-op market has been particularly strong this year. Increasing prices have incentivized additional buyers to consider co-ops due to their greater affordability. We expect the improving economy, low mortgage rates and high international demand to continue to drive the market in the coming quarters."

In the report, the brokerage firm noted number of listings rose by 18 percent to a still-low 5,659 properties. However, the number of sales rose for the seventh straight quarter, and buyers continue to struggle with bidding wars: 45.9 percent of listings found takers at or above the asking price, the largest market share in the past six years. And average prices are still stuck in $1.7 million.

"Manhattan housing prices continued to press higher, driven by low inventory and seven consecutive quarters of year-over-year sales growth. Mortgage rates have drifted lower, nearly returning to their prior year levels while the local economy has added jobs and international demand for product has been relentless. The luxury market showed the most price gains as more new development product has begun to close," the report said.

Newly built condos remained, for the most part, a subset of the luxury market. After trailing the condo market in terms of sales and price trends, the co-op market has rebounded in the past several quarters as consumers increasingly seek out greater affordability. Manhattan median sales price increased 5.2% to $910,000 from the prior year quarter. Much of the gain came from the co-op market, which comprised 59.5% of sales and a 9% rise in median sales price. The median sales price of a condo edged 0.8% higher over the same period.

The average sales price and average price per square foot of all Manhattan apartments showed greater gains of 17.9% and 10.4% respectively over the same period. These gains were influenced by increases in the luxury and new development markets as bigger, higher quality product entered the market. The price rise of these indicators was partially attributable

to more square footage within the units sold, rather than a shift in the mix to more bedrooms.

The 15% market share of 3-bedroom and 4-bedroom sales remained unchanged from the prior year quarter. However, the average square footage of a re-sale increased 6.8% to 1,277, while the average square footage of a new development sale rose 24.9% to 1,853 over the same period.

Halstead Property, in its second quarter Manhattan Property report added apartment prices averaged $1,700,426 in Manhattan in the second quarter, virtually unchanged from the prior quarter's record level, but 19% higher than a year ago. New developments continued to play a leading role in the market, accounting for 10% of all sales while posting an average price of $3,480,906. Overall, there were 9% more closings reported than in the second quarter of 2013.

Realtors, including brokers and homebuyers, who are looking to buy or sell properties in Manhattan, can take advantage of the innovative imaging and video solutions offered by real estate technology RealBiz Media, Inc. (OTC: RBIZ) with its patented video processing technology that enables the fast and efficient delivery of video marketing across multiple platforms.

The nation's top 5% of real estate agents (roughly 75,000) represent $2 billion per year in online advertising. A 2013 survey commissioned by ReachFactor found that these agents spend on average $36,000 per year marketing. Their most common marketing tactics include owning multiple websites and blogs, search engine (pay-per-click) marketing, and advertising on real estate portals and social media. 70% of the 1,910 agents polled admitted they didn't know how to gauge the effectiveness of their marketing spend and 88% felt they should be getting better results.

"The most active agents in real estate, the top 5%, are attracted to this kind of service because they experience firsthand how hard it is to be a smart online marketer," stated Suresh Srinivasan, Chief Operating Officer at RealBiz. "Our opportunity is to become their strategic partner and help them quickly win new listings and sell active ones through clever use of our technology and marketing skills."