Signals More Mixed Than Ever

As most of my readers know, my mission on True Gotham is to raise the level of honesty and integrity in the real estate industry in an effort to dispel the myth that agents are essentially used car salesman. (For the record, I’m sure there are some fantastically honest used car salesman out there).

Sometimes that task seems incredibly daunting as I weed through the stories that whirl around Manhattan and the nation. It’s no secret that the market has changed significantly and whether you believe it is "healthier" or simply "scarier" isn’t the main issue. Defining market conditions is the real issue and the one that, frankly, baffles me at the moment.

Every day I receive at least a dozen and sometimes as many as 50-60 emails from agents in New York and all over the nation: Miami, Arizona, the Carolinas, Colorado, and even cowboy country like North Dakota and Wyoming. The thing that all of these emails have in common is that they are aggressively marketing property to the NYC marketplace, and they often are advertising price reductions. OK, no big deal you say. This is to be expected in a cooling market. I absolutely agree.

On the Ground in Manhattan: Movement
Last week, my team and I represented a 1BR buyer in a bidding war. Our buyer "won" the privilege of paying $12,000 over the asking price. A colleague has multiple offers on a $2.1M apartment on Riverside Drive. She’s confident it will sell over the asking price. I have a potential multiple bid situation brewing on a 1BR that has been on the market for several months. And the biggest kicker of all… yesterday, on behalf of one of my clients, I contacted a selling broker of a 12 room apartment on Park Avenue in the 80’s asking $12,000,000. The first showing of this apartment is next Wednesday,  and they already have 22 appointments scheduled for that day!

I’m as confused as the rest of you.

As a blogger, I read more real estate news every day than I care to admit. The majority of it is negative (just check out the doom and gloom issue of this week’s New York magazine). Yet I’m seeing contradictory information on the front lines that I absolutely must share. For this reason, I have decided that the best way to give an honest appraisal of our market is to report EVERYTHING, the good and the bad, and let you savvy readers decide how to interpret this information. I will continue to chime in with my professional assessment of what’s really happening. I will also admit when I’m puzzled. Well, I’m puzzled!

The Overplayed "New York is Special" Angle May Be True Now
In general, the "New York City is an anomaly" angle is overplayed in my opinion. Frankly, I get sick of hearing it. But there are times when that sure seems to be the truth.

Certainly our market is subject to the same market indicators as the rest of the country. But we do have some quirky elements that make our market a bit different than the rest. The lack of rental property, the massive wealth, the co-op element, and the knowledgeable buyers and sellers (what percentage are lawyers or financial professionals?) are all distinct factors.

Certainly, I don’t want to sound like a broker who is clueless to a cooling marketplace. There are plenty of dark clouds out there. (I’ve been blogging about it since True Gotham started, and talking about it for much longer than that.) My personal experience of the market, in recent weeks, however, has been remarakably more positive than what the media is reporting. At least this month, there’s no point in arguing the point that Manhattan real estate rises and falls "differently" than other markets. I haven’t seen anyone who can explain where we are now or where we are going.

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