Third quarter real estate data for Manhattan showed that sales for condos and co-ops improved from the second quarter... but sales still trail 2008 third quarter numbers. So, is the glass half full or empty?

Brown Harris Stevens' president Hall Wilkie told the NY Times, "Confidence is returning to the marketplace," thanks to the stock market's improvement and slowing job losses (oh, really?). Prudential Douglas Elliman president Dorothy Herman said her firm's summer was busy, "We see the market as stabilizing. It has hit bottom."

On the other hand, Jonathan Miller, the appraiser who prepared Prudential's third quarter market report, that in spite of one bright signs, he thinks the market has "not yet found a bottom," given "high local unemployment, tight credit and a 'shadow inventory' of new condominiums not officially listed on the market." Daily Intel parses more of Miller's data, "It’s taking even longer to unload apartments. That stat is up from 134 days in 2008 to 167... The number of broken contracts rose 7.6 percent—from 132 to 142—this quarter from the previous quarter, too."

Other factoids: According to Corcoran, the average sale price of an UES townhouse is "still 50 percent below the price in the first quarter of last year" (heavens!); another economist says "prices of large Upper East Side apartments with three or more bedrooms lagged 42 percent below the prices of a year ago, and 12 percent below the second quarter"; and Elliman's report says the average sale price of a co-op is $1 million (media $630,000) while a condo's average sale price is $1.58 million (media $1.02 million).