What is keeping the New York City real estate market afloat?

Real estate in New York, New York, may not be seeing signs of growth comparable to other metro areas in the United States, but even in down markets, Big Apple homes are worth the investment. Home prices in the U.S. during the first half of 2012 posted their strongest gains in six years, according to The Wall Street Journal. This uptick is the most convincing sign that more state markets have hit bottom and have nowhere to go but up.

However, many real estate experts suggest today's rising home prices have less to do with buyer demand, and more to do with inventory declines nationwide. Inventories of existing homes are at eight-year lows, and new-home inventories are lower than at any time since the U.S. Census Bureau began tracking the metric in 1962, the news source reports.

Unfortunately, low inventory isn't a sign of strength. In fact,  it simply indicates sellers won't become buyers because they don't have enough equity to make large down payments on homes. This circumstance prevents the exchange of property, and leaves the housing market dry and empty. Nevertheless, there are positive signs that buyers and sellers should pay attention to when jumping into the real estate market.

Even in the worst of times, New York City property is not cheap. If you own a condo or home in the Big Apple, your investment will likely show a comparable return. Recently, The New York Business Journal published an article that spoke about two new reports that highlight Manhattan's stable property values in 2012.

The first report shows that sales of high-end condos rose 42 percent this summer. According to the news source, between the end of June 2012 and Labor Day, approximately 129 apartments with an average price of $7.5 million were sold in the borough, compared to the 91 units sold for an average of $8 million a year earlier.

The second report comes from real estate expert Andrew Moraccas, who told AM New York that foreign buyers have played an influential part in the stability of the New York City housing market. With more people coming to the Big Apple from overseas, the fewer luxury homes remain on the marketplace, which causes buyers to purchase other available homes.

While inventory is down nationwide, and buyers and sellers are still hesitant to exchange property in some areas, luxury sales continue to thrive. Hopefully, the rest of the housing market will catch up with the high-end sector in the near future, and New Yorkers can once again enjoy the benefits of homeownership.