if there is one thing I know for sure after all of the barbecues, cocktail parties, and various summer get-togethers, it’s that everyone has an opinion about the real estate market (I repeat, there is not ONE national real estate market). So what do all of these (mine included) anecdotal opinions mean? They simply prove that the perception of what is currently happening in anyone’s specific hyper-local real estate market is greatly influenced by the media, in the trenches personal experiences, and general real estate industry chatter.
Let’s break down the legitimacy of all three:
1. The Media: I LOVE the media!!! I think it is incredibly powerful and in the hands of responsible reporters can serve the consumer very well. But often times reporters of "man bites dog" scenarios are much more effective at negatively skewing perceptions about housing and the economy. In my almost 20 years of selling Manhattan real estate, never has the media been so powerful in swaying public perception about housing on a daily basis. The number of emails and phone calls is directly proportional to positive or negative news stories about housing, the stock market, mortgage rates or the global economy. That said, some excellent reporters are out there doing their very best to stay ahead of the curve and report current trends which leads to a more informed consumer. Even bloggers like Noah Rosenblatt at UrbanDigs are among those leading the way towards transparency and accurate reporting of current market conditions.
2. From the Trenches: Anecdotal at best, this information is only as dependable as the person sharing it. For instance, a savvy and knowledgeable real estate professional, appraiser and market expert like Jonathan Miller provides useful data and anecdotes that give incredible insight into current market conditions as well as forecasts for what’s to come. A sophisticated broker or real estate agent with real time experience in a specific market can also provide useful information. But a broker or agent who is in "desperation" mode trying to keep their business afloat is not typically a good source for market conditions.
3. Industry Chatter: This in my opinion is often the least reliable as egos almost always get in the way of reality. No broker/agent wants to discuss when their business is suffering and my experience has almost always been that when i share with someone that volume has slowed, they get most uncomfortable and either change the subject or throw me some open ended statement about how busy they have been.
So I think what I’m trying to say here is that we truly always must consider the source of the information we are getting on current market conditions. From anecdotes about multiple bids to properties languishing on the market for months and months, we can’t decipher a clear picture of what is happening in our local real estate market.
The many micro markets that span the island of Manhattan are NOT a specific news story, a specific real estate agent anecdote, or even the combined "theories" of real estate professionals across the city. The best and clearest snapshot of what is happening in ones local housing market comes from interpreting a plethora of data and information that comes from sources deemed to be reliable. An excellent real estate professional can help navigate this information but don’t put too much weight in our opinions.