Manhattan Real Estate Market Snapshot and A Broker Blogger’s Dilemna

For those agents/brokers out there who are thinking about starting there own real estate blog; think long and hard before you take the leap.  Evidenced by my lack of posts as of late (the last all the way back on January 6), the ability to blog in a complex and difficult to navigate market is almost an impossibility.  There just has been no free time to spout my opinions about what is going on or the facts about a very bizarre market place.  I’m a broker who blogs (not a blogger who occasionaly sells an aparrtment) and serving my clients remains my number one priority.  That said, here’s a brief snapshot of what is going on in my business right now (anecdotal of course):

  1. Since the first week of January, I have brought 4 new properties to market for a total of 10 that I am exclusively representing at this time.  I am pricing ALL new properties at levels of approximately 25% below sales prices of same or similar units this past summer (2008) resulting in a significant increase in buyer traffic.
  2. 2 contracts were signed just before the holidays and 3 have been signed in the past week.
  3. More "toe dippers" are testing the waters to determine if they are ready to buy.
  4. 2 of my buyers who were on the sidelines have entered the "looking" fray again and are liking what they are seeing in terms of prices versus last year.
  5. Appointment requests for our exclusive properties have seen an exponential uptick since pre-holiday market.

It will be interesting to see how things play out in the coming weeks and months but most of my colleagues are experiencing an increase in activity that I can only attribute to more realistic sellers paired with some easing in the credit markets.  Cash still remains king and there are some incredible deals to be had for the fortunate buyer who is able to find multiple properties that suit their needs.

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14 Responses to Manhattan Real Estate Market Snapshot and A Broker Blogger’s Dilemna

  1. avatar billshiers says:

    The term “deal” has to be in comparison to some kind of assumed fair value. Compared to mid 2008 prices, I’m sure there are deals out there. Compared to 2005 prices, I’m not so sure. Considering that we are coming off of a remarkable real estate bubble, I think it’s incredibly difficult to know what the appropriate level for the market is. In many ways, the price appreciation of the past five years has not been driven by fundamentals and is thus not entirely real, so it’s hard for me to consider a property to be a deal just because it is selling for less (even significantly less) than it would have at the peak of the bubble. I do think there is a mindset in the broker community that: price discount off peak comps = deal. That’s not necessarily the case.

  2. I believe that “deal” is a relative term totally determined by the perception of value by the prospective purchaser. Many of my clients are on hold and others are jumping in because they WANT (not necessarily NEED) to move. Some of my sellers are leaving the city but most are making geographical relocations on the island of Manhattan or they are trading up for more space.

  3. Doug – I don’t WANT to hear that – not acceptable – we NEED your insight and we NEED it more than ever in this market. Don’t keep it to yourself. đŸ˜‰

  4. avatar BBen says:

    All of a sudden you are sounding an optimistic note again. Is it mere coincidence that once you realized you would be getting additional hits from the NYT article, you changed your tune. Are we to assume that we will hear your overly optimistic broker pablim again? Everything I hear from broker friends is that things are wretched.
    Your thoughts?

  5. Sorry all for the delayed post of and response to comments. Out of town this weekend and sporadic BBerry access.
    JM,
    Thanks and Im hoping to have more time to blog but as you know, the market is challengoing and requires more energy than ever before.
    BBen,
    I wouldnt “ASS-U-ME” anything… Obviously your not a regular reader of this blog so I will cut you some slack. Take a look at the archives and all the posts I have written about markets good and bad. I blog with honesty and integrity always. This post is factual based on MY current business…nothing more, nothing less. Realtive to the 10 year housing boom of multiple offers being slung around, “wretched” could certainly be used to describe the current narket. I would choose to say “challenging” and Im up to the challenge. BTW…relative to the market from September through December, I am much busier and would hardly describe the market today as wretched. Perhaps your friends are used to the days of order-taking and they are over. A broker today better me savvy, smart, and trustworthy or they wont be a broker for long.

  6. And for the record, I had absolutely no clue that the NYT’s Blogger piece was coming out this weekend so it was merely a coincidence that I posted on Friday. Im hoping to blog more frequently again now that I may have a few more people’s attention.

  7. avatar Henry says:

    Why don’t all the big brokerages come out and say that they have urged all their pre-Lehman (sept) sellers to cut their price by 25%? Say the world has changed. Get positive press. Much better than the huge number of silent price cuts… that are being urged behind the scenes. Try to slow the inventory build… Get the buyers out there.
    Doesn’t cost much as sellers can say no.

  8. Simple answer Henry…because they aren’t urging 25% price cuts. First of all, each property and each specific location must be analyzed independently. And as far as “silent” price cuts, I’m not sure what you mean? Most price cuts I see and hear about are being shouted from the rooftops. I totally get your point but it just isn’t that easy. You have to let the market settle and work out its own kinks. I happen to think that sellers who price ahead of the curve will be better off than those who don’t. On this I think we agree but many sellers and/or their agents aren’t there yet.

  9. avatar henry says:

    By silent price cuts, I was talking about the the soundbites from the heads of the big firms. I still hear quotes from the top guns in NYC real estate about confidence, etc. as if demand might bounce back. Buyers are not that dumb, and it is a reason to wait.
    Having the heads NYC real estate admit that things have changed and call for price cuts would provide cover for their staff to go out and seek them. I hear on not being there yet.
    I wasn’t trying to suggest that that individual properties should not be analyzed individually.

  10. I hear you Henry and completely understand. I have noticed that the heads of most of the big companies like Dottie Herman and Pam Liebman aren’t spinning the market but telling it like it is lately. Pricing ahead of the curve should be interpreted as cutting prices and I have seen both refer to this in the press.
    With the savvy buyers that exist in today’s marketplace, there is no place for spin and it will only hurt credibility if it is attempted.

  11. avatar Sepp says:

    Basic market fundamentals have always determined price. More available product will lower the price regardless of whether we are talking about cars or apartments. Your latest post will certainly indicate that you are busy reducing the level of available product and thereby helping to raise prices. It would be hard to believe that public pronoucements by the CEOs of major real estate firms as to the state of the market could sway buyers and sellers as effectively as the realities of said market. To quote from Wikipedia ‘A broker is a party that mediates between a buyer and a seller’. I don’t know about the other readers, but I think that is what Doug is doing.

  12. Sepp,
    Agreed that “basic market fundamentals” will determine price but many years ago Barbara Corcoran sent the market into a frenzy with some chilly words about market dynamics. CEO statements have been swaying the public for many years now and not just in the real estate industry. It is hard to believe but sometimes true. And yes, I’m a mediator indeed.
    Thanks for your comment!

  13. I found a few places through a broker over at E&B Real Estate, who showed me places with some realistic sellers. I think prices are still on their way down, so I didn’t pull the trigger on anything yet, but it seems like the things I saw are starting to get into buy price ranges.

  14. Doug,
    Same here from Miami Beach. Pricing apartments on recent comps=WASTE of time.
    Good stuff.

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