I blame bloggers! NYC brokers start admitting reality – the real estate market has tanked.
THE incredible shrinking real estate market has arrived right here inManhattan, and now that the first quarter is over, not even the most ebullient broker will be able to dispute it. Now everyone will have no choice but to adjust to a market where buyers aren’t buying and sellers aren’t selling, new developments have stalled and mortgages remain scarce.
The evidence of this decline is likely to arrive later this week when a series of market reports are released, documenting in detail the decline in sales in every type of apartment in every neighborhood.
Last year, the Manhattan real estate market was an $18 billion business. So far this year, sales are off more than 60 percent, according to a preliminary review of first-quarter figures. That is steeper than the year-to-year decline in auto sales in February in the United States.
The drop-off in activity, especially among the most expensive apartments favored by the barons of Wall Street, led to steep drops in city real estate transfer taxes, forced brokerage firms to close offices, led to soaring inventory and left buyers and sellers uncertain about how to proceed.
For now, it seems, the market will be left to people who really need to move and who really need to buy. “If you are going to be there long term, and you need a place to live, go for it — if your time horizon is five or more years,” said Dolly Lenz, a broker at Prudential Douglas Elliman.
Right now, she said, there is a standoff in the market, with buyers expecting huge discounts and sellers resisting. “The buyers and sellers have gotten different memos of what the price should be and no one is budging,” she said.
Michelle Kleier of Gumley Haft Kleier said her firm was still making sales, but of smaller apartments at lower prices than she was used to, typically to first-time home buyers and parents buying apartments for their children.
In the 1980s, a glut of unsold Manhattan apartments in failed projects undermined the market for years. No one knows whether this will be the pattern this time around or whether the market will rebound more quickly if the economy, the stock market and the banks bounce back later this year.