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Would-Be Manhattan Home Buyers Confront Meager Supplies

There aren’t many options for those looking to buy a home in Manhattan: first-quarter real estate numbers show very few apartments for sale.

Total inventory was 4,960 in the first three months of 2013, compared with a ten-year average of around 8,000. Year to year, inventory dropped by more than one third, according to Jonathan Miller, president of Miller Samuel, an appraisal firm.

“This is a national problem,” Miller said. “Because while housing is local, credit is national. And tight credit is the key reason we’re seeing inventory fall.”

So long as credit is tight, homeowners who might think about upgrading don’t have much reason to put their apartment on the market. Interest rates are low, but few would-be purchasers qualify.

Year-to-year, the average price paid per square foot rose 1.8 percent, to $1,103. The number of transactions rose 6.3 percent, to 2,457.

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