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Manhattan real estate sales fall for sixth straight quarter—longest losing streak in 30 years

Manhattan real estate had its worst first quarter since the financial crisis, capping the longest losing streak for sales in over 30 years, Total sales fell 3 percent in the first quarter, and marked the sixth straight quarter of declines.
That is the longest downturn in the 30 years that the real estate appraisal firm has been keeping data.

Total sales fell 3 percent in the first quarter, according to a report from Douglas Elliman and Miller Samuel. That marked the sixth straight quarter of declines, which is the longest downturn in the three decades that the appraisal and research firm has been keeping data.The drop stems from an over-supply of high-end and highly priced apartments, a lack of foreign buyers and the new federal tax law that has hit real estate in high-tax states. A new “mansion tax” approved by New York state legislators over the weekend will layer another tax on the sale of multimillion-dollar homes and add further pressure to a market already under stress, according to real estate experts.
The pain is being felt at all levels. While the entry-level market in New York, below $1 million, had been holding up for most of the past year and a half, it’s started to suffer as the trouble at the top cascades down.”It’s like a layer cake,” said Jonathan Miller, the CEO of Miller Samuel. “When you have softening at the top, it starts to melt into the next layer and the next layer after that.Because those buyers further down have to compete on price.”Prices in Manhattan continue to remain soft.
While the average sale price got a big boost from hedge fun billionaire Ken Griffin’s $238 million condo purchase, hitting $2.1 million, the median sales price in Manhattan declined slightly, to just over $1 million.Griffin’s purchase was part of a more than $700 million spending spree the CEO and founder of Citadel has been on in recent years, as he’s scooped up homes in Chicago, Miami and London. Sellers who still have unrealistic price expectations are the biggest barriers to sales, brokers say.That has led to more listings piling up and sitting on the market for longer periods. There is now a nine-month supply of homes on the market, with inventory up 9 percent.The glut in new development is even worse: the supply of newly built condos jumped 56 percent over last year, to a 19-month supply.Miller says the outlook for the year is unlikely to improve — especially with the new mansion tax.
“The market continues to be vulnerable to challenges,” he said.

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How to Use Your Tax Return for Travel

Those looking to travel domestically could take a full two weeks to visit the Pacific Northwest (think: Seattle, Portland and the surrounding area.
Couples can spend a week in Sedona, Arizona hiking the red rocks, or lounge on the beach in Florida’s Key West, with airfares in the low $300s roundtrip from many East Coast airports, according to Jauntaroo.
International destinations are still a possibility for couples on a $2,400 budget, including getaways to Croatia, where roundtrip airfare can be found from $483 per person and hotels can be booked for less than $100 per night. (Sadly, outside the capital, there arent a ton of points hotel options.) Theres also Budapest, Hungary. Hunt for a roundtrip flight just over $400 and boutique apartment rentals for $60 per night on Airbnb.
$2,700 to $2,850For international vacations, Midwest residents can head to Spain from the Midwest for just $481 roundtrip per person, or take a quick flight to the island of Aruba for just $371, according to Skyscanner. Entire families can enjoy a trip here by using points to reserve a stay at one of the islands many great points properties.
Photo by Tashka / Getty Images.$3,000 to $3,150The average tax return has historically been about $3,000 per person, and most states land in this range, from Alaska to Georgia, Maryland and Nevada.It’s still a sizable return, and even travelers who don’t want to spend their entire tax return on a trip can find great options within this budget.For residents of Nevada, Alaska, or any of the other western states, the San Juan Islands off the coast of Washington are a short flight and boat ride away.
The rural archipelago is filled with state parks and greenery, making it the perfect option for nature lovers who want to hike, kayak, swim or watch for orcas starting in May. Flights originating from the west can be as low as $103 per person, according to Skyscanner, and hotels on the islands usually run from $70 to $150 per night.For international locations, residents of the West Coast can fly to parts of South America in just a few hours. Flights from California to Sao Paolo, Brazil are usually less than $500 in May.
East Coast residents can turn to the British Isles for a great getaway, where flights to Scotland are $499 round trip and flights to London are just $341, according to Skyscanner. Travelers can splurge on the recently renovated Ritz-Carlton in London, or stay at the highly rated Hilton Metropole for less than $150 per night.(Cash in your points for an award night, and youll have plenty of your tax return left over for food, beverages and activities.)$3,700 to $3,850States in the Northeast see some of the highest average tax refunds, with Connecticut taking the number one spot of $3,844, according to Smart Asset.
Travelers in the highest tax return bracket could jet off to Bali for two weeks to visit ancient Hindu temples. Flights from New York City to Bali can get as low as $481 roundtrip in the month of May (though if you want to book something quick, its not difficult to find flights in the mid-$700s) and hotels run in the low hundreds per night.North African temperatures tend to be relatively mild in the spring, making it a great time to visit Morocco or Egypt (one of our top places to travel this April). Flights to Africa tend to run on the more expensive side, regardless of the time of year, but flights to Casablanca can be found in the low $600s roundtrip.Visitors can rent entire homes near Casablanca for roughly $50 per night — and some even include their own pools.For the latest travel news, deals and points and miles tips please .

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