The “Soft Landing”

Josh Barbanel reports:

The new quarterly numbers led brokers and market analysts to conclude that the Manhattan real estate market — with its legendary high prices — appeared to have so far escaped the worst of the real estate market excesses, like large price cuts by developers, reported across the country.

“It shows us that we hit the soft landing that a lot of people were hoping for,” said Gregory J. Heym, an economist who prepared market studies for two brokerage firms, Brown Harris Stevens and Halstead Property.

In the immortal words of Gomer Pyle, surprise surprise surprise! 2006 did not see the Manhattan real estate market crash like some predicted. Not only didn’t the market crash, but reports released in the past few days are showing average prices up 6% for the year and median prices up as much as 11%.

Now everyone who reads this blog knows that I don’t believe that Manhattan is immune to an economic downturn in our housing market. I do maintain that our island remains a bit of an anomaly and as this article (interesting “look back” at 2007…yes 2007!) points out it is better compared to international cities like Tokyo and Paris rather than American cities like Chicago and Boston.

My perception of all of this… I can only say that I and many of my colleagues have a considerable amount of business in the pipeline for the first 4-8 weeks of 2007 as the last quarter of 2006 indeed saw an increase in sales volume. Many buyers have regained confidence in the market as prices have become more realistic and interest rates have remained low. Additionally, and I believe this is the primary reason for a buoyed Manhattan market, NYC remains the greatest city in the world to call home and there are a lot of people with a lot of money who agree with me. 2007 should be a good year as well… it certainly is starting out that way.

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