I was contemplating NOT chiming in on the big company’s 3Q Manhattan residential real estate market reports, but alas I must give my two cents. Never has the answer to the "how’s the market?" question been so complicated. It is all relative of course and if you compare the the 3rd quarter 2009 to the first half of 2009, then yes the news is good and the market is much busier. But despite a few stats that show some YoY increases, like sales volume of 2BR apartments, the market is nothing like it had been for the past decade and that’s not necessarily a bad thing for everyone as a correction albeit fast and steep was absolutely necessary.
Check out this snapshot from Curbed of the numbers from Elliman, Corcoran, and Halstead/Brown Harris Stevens (same owners):
Average sale price
1) Elliman: $1.323M – Down 10% from last year, up 0.8% from last quarter
2) Corcoran: $1.282M – Down 16% from last year, down 11% from last quarter
3) Halstead/Brown Harris Stevens: $1.274 million – Down 13% from last year, flat over last quarter
Median sale price
1) Elliman: $850,000 – Down 8.4% from last year, up 1.7% from last quarter
2) Corcoran: $799,000 – Down 18% from last year, down 4% from last quarter
3) Halstead/BHS: $781,000 – Down 14% from last year, down 1.7% from last quarter
Number of sales
1) Elliman: Down 16% from last year, up 45.6% from last quarter
2) Corcoran: Down 38% from last year, up 16% from last quarter
3) Halstead/BHS: Down 25% from last year
Here we go again!!! How can the biggest players in the Manhattan real estate market come up with such differing reports of what has happened in the marketplace (big emphasis on "has")? I still have never received an explanation for this that made any sense.
All of this said, I think it is very fair to say that the deep and rapid price decline that happened over the last 18 months has slowed. Activity for me and all of my colleagues has definitely picked up as sellers have accepted market conditions and some buyers feel that now is the time to grab their piece of the Big Apple.
So where is the market heading? That is the billion (let’s say trillion) dollar question and I still believe that we may see another 10% decrease in prices before we stabilize for a period of a few years. If I’m wrong, it will only mean that the economy has become healthier more quickly than anticipated, banks are more freely lending (uh oh), and a huge influx of cash will pump up prices again. That sounds a bit eerily familiar no?