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Manhattan closings up, prices down

Brokers express cautious optimism

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Sales of Manhattan apartments increased while prices fell year-over-year in the fourth quarter of 2009, according to two quarterly market reports.The number of sales rose 8.4 percent to 2,473 sales from 2,282 sales in the prior year's fourth quarter, and increased 10.9 percent from 2,230 units in 2009's third quarter, according to a Manhattan market report prepared by Miller Samuel Real Estate Appraisers for Prudential Douglas Elliman.A separate quarterly report prepared by Terra Holdings, parent company of Brown Harris Stevens and Halstead Property, said the 2,519 sales reported during the fourth quarter were a 9 percent improvement from the same period in 2008. The report noted that closings have been increasing since the second quarter of 2009, when they were down 53 percent year-over-year. Both reports are based on public record data. The Miller Samuel report also includes data that it and Prudential Douglas Elliman collect. The average sales price was $1.3 million in fou...