Believe it Or Not: Sparse High-End Inventory

The Real Deal’s Lauren Elkies reports that, despite rising inventory and falling prices in many parts of the U.S. real estate market, anecdotally at least, the high-end in Manhattan has low inventory and high prices.

At the ultra-high end, most sales property has problems, brokers say. "They’re out there, but not on the absolute best streets, or they’re not particularly wide," Berman said. "For the crème-de-la-crème, it’s limited."

Brokers who sell exclusively in the ultra-luxury market — where properties command prices of $20 million or more — say their clients are discouraged.

"The frustration is what they want is not on the market," said Meredyth Hull Smith, a senior vice president at Sotheby’s International Realty. She is the agent for a mansion in the East 70s that reportedly was under contract for $45 million last month.

I am finding the same thing. I have a client at the moment at the $10 million price point and another shopping to spend about $20 million. Sparse is an understatement when describing inventory available for these clients.

The remarkable fact about the inventory that is available is that it rarely offers what a buyer expects to get in this price range. It is very hard for a buyer to swallow that they can’t have every single thing that they want when they are spending $20 million, but it is almost always the case.

Not unlike the lower end (those only paying $3-5 million… ha… did I just refer to that as "lower end"?) of the luxury market, and the overall market in general, the high-end buyer is being forced to prioritize. There also seem to be more buyers willing to take their time and see how the market develops before dropping tens of millions. I also believe that the lack of inventory can be attributed to prospective sellers either not needing to move or also waiting to see how the market shakes out. After all, people in this price point rarely are “forced” to do anything… including move.

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