The number of real estate sales in Manhattan is up over the past three months, offering a sign of hope to homeowners who have watched the number of deals drop and the median sale price of plummet by 21 percent since 2008. The Times reports that the uptick in sales chipped away at the inventory of unsold apartments. Prices stayed about the same or dropped slightly — though two major brokerages actually reported increases in the average and median sales prices, according to Curbed. Some insiders fear the market has hit a plateau before another plunge, but others think things are starting to turn around. "Considering where we came from, the results this quarter were much better than we could've imagined a year ago at this time," said Jonathan Miller, who created the study. "There are a lot of challenges ahead for housing, but I think the worst is behind us."