Making Sense of the NYC Real Estate Market

Buyers, sellers, and renters alike continue to corner me at cocktail parties and call me daily asking me the all important question, "How’s the market?"  It is a very difficult question to answer because for each the answer differs.  It’s also challenging because as I see in my daily review of real estate trade publications, it is possible to "spin" the answer any way you like to give ’em what they want to hear. 

On any given day I could provide you with a plethora of links suggesting that you:

Weeding through the information on a daily basis makes my head spin and presents a regular challenge of determining exactly what is going on in our "local" real estate market.  Here on True Gotham, I provide concrete (yet anecdotal) evidence of exactly what is happening TODAY in the Manhattan real estate market through my personal experiences in the marketplace and those of my colleagues (the ones that I trust anyway).

So "How is the market?"

Buyers Exercise Patience:  Depending on your current living situation, how  interest rate sensitive you are, and where you believe interest rates are heading, you may want to sit tight until this summer.  The current market is as frenzied as the first few months of 2006 and my clients who waited to buy last summer did better from an investment standpoint than those who bought during the chaotic early months of 2006.  One of my clients closed in November on a 9 room apartment for $3.1M that they could easily sell today for $3.7M (not a bad return).  I see buyers everyday who are throwing the proverbial kitchen sink at sellers in the heat of competition to call a home theirs.

Sellers consider selling before the summer months:  If you are planning on selling your current home, the market right now is desperate for inventory.  NO BS.  Money has poured into the real estate market since January and there doesn’t seem to be enough product on the market to satisfy these buyers.  It is imperative that I also state here that NOT EVERYTHING is flying off the shelves.  It must be a desirable property in a good location that is also priced right.

Renters…Do the Math:  Again I have to reference the Christine Haughney article in Monday’s New York Times suggesting that many renters are fed up with paying landlords.  Some renters have great deals and it just doesn’t pay to move…so don’t.  Others may find that they could afford a home for not much more than what they currently pay in rent.  Just go to any number of mortgage calculators to figure out what you can afford.  WARNING:  In NYC this may be a terribly painful revelation.

Bubble Talk?:  I have no clue!  Only time will tell but given the data that I have been reading regarding development paired with the influx of people (900,000) expected in New York City in the coming years, I’m cautiously optimistic that Manhattan will continue to be a sought after place to live for more people such that demand will continue to outweigh the supply.

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