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The New York City real estate sales market continues to look healthier than the national market.

Unit sales of apartments in Manhattan fell 5.8% year-over-year in the third quarter, but the median sales price rose 12.7% to $845,147, according to the Prudential Douglas Elliman Manhattan market overview released Wednesday. The broader U.S. housing market has shown declines in both sales and prices as the real estate boom unwinds.

"The housing stats are showing stability in New York," says Jonathan Miller, head of appraisal firm Miller Samuel, which helps prepare the report.

"The local numbers don't seem to be as negative as the national numbers," he says, "and the reason is that the New York City economy is doing very well. Wall Street bonuses are expected to be up next year." A low amount of speculator activity has also helped the market, Miller says.

Overall listing inventory stabilized at 7,623 units, down 0.2% from the prior quarter but up 32.3% from a year earlier, according to the Prudential report. This was the first quarter with stable inventory levels after six quarterly increases.

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Nonetheless, deals are down, partially because interest rates are higher than a year ago. As well, "the high prices of starter apartments have driven a lot of people out of the market right now," says Pamela Liebman, CEO of the Corcoran Group, a high-end Manhattan real estate broker that is owned by


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The Corcoran report on the market showed total sales down 17% from last year, while the average price per square foot for apartments in the city rose 6% to $1,047.

Across the city, the average price for a one-bedroom condo rose 6% to $872,000. "That's made owning look less affordable for a number of people," Liebman says.