Our housing market is undergoing major change

Inventory has nowhere to go but up, but don’t expect a surge. Click to expand. (Source: Miller Samuel Inc.)

The word all of us have been using to describe the housing market in Manhattan is “stable.”

Well, as any prospective buyer of a well-priced apartment will tell you, much of the market has changed in a big way.  Open houses of new listings are jammed, and that is just part of the evidence.

The chief reason is inventory that is sharply down from previous years.

Respected appraiser/data hound Jonathan Miller has pulled together some astounding numbers.  Continue reading

Weekly Roundup: New. . . rent data, celebrity moves, U.S. market reports, interest rates, generation of investors, forecasts and more

November rents in Manhattan ease slightly as Sandy contributes to drop in inventory

Almost burned, one tenant unscathed after renting out apartment via Airbnb

Mayor calls for immediate redrawing of FEMA flood maps

Sunlight in apartments comes at a cost

NY Fed’s interactive tool provides housing market data

Insurance won’t cover loss in event of apartment misuse

Many of the city’s newest transplants favor Manhattan

His new home is, strangely, no fixer-upper

London house of singer who died tragically young sold at auction below original asking price

Retired Yankee’s condo sale long way from home run

Chef’s purchase Continue reading

Weekly Roundup: Beresford auction, Brooklyn’s Manhattanization, latest market stats, celeb moves, same old loan limits, staging errors

Question facing downtown is whether hurricane stigma short-term phenomenon

Value of views depends on what you see and from what height

Mitchell-Lama program originally aimed to help ‘blighted’ neighborhoods

It is possible to double-check suspicious prices in city’s property records

Foreclosure auction scheduled for Beresford co-op listed for $7.35 million

Residential buildings largely account for 17 percent growth of stalled construction

Price data show ‘Manhattanization’ of condos in hot Brooklyn neighborhoods

Banks hesitant to offer financing for co-ops in buildings with only five or 10 units

Stuyvesant Town tenants reach $68 million settlement with controlling company

Pop queen’s Central Park West duplex is listed for $23.5 million

Actor in search of buyer for Chelsea penthouse Continue reading

Down-payment ‘insurance’ for housing market?

Prof. James A. Wilcox

Reading an op-ed piece by James A. Wilcox in the New York Times yesterday, I was struck by the novelty of his ideas for what amounts to government-backed insurance against a loss in home equity.

But the more I read the column by the respected economist, a business professor at the University of California, Berkeley, the more dubious I became. He writes:

Down-payment protection would provide a sensible and affordable way to restore confidence.

He contends that a large number — perhaps two million — of potential buyers who are renting or living with relatives hesitate to take the risk of making a purchase even if they have good jobs and credit histories.  Says he:

While near-record numbers of houses all over the country are empty, the sidelines are crowded with this huge ‘shadow demand.’

His solution for activating that demand, whatever its dimensions, would be Continue reading

Weekly Roundup: Manhattan market improves, pending U.S. sales surge, rates still low, more

Take your pick of predictions of the Big Apple’s housing market

NYU says property values approach peak in Manhattan, only borough where prices higher than the last year

Couch potatoes would do well to avoid some buildings

Foreclosures in October decline for fifth consecutive month

Number of Manhattan condo sales barely budges over one month or a year

Tribeca and SoHo most expensive neighborhoods in Q3

Developers target sales commissions for themselves

New program helps buyers of foreclosed homes

Seven signs that it’s time to jettison your broker

Strong rental market generally stable in November

Dominated by residential construction, number of stalled sites shrinks

November sales in Manhattan rise above October but not two prior years, supply dips

Perhaps the stars will shine through clear skies on this $5.5 million listing

Price cut on actor’s home ranks among the big shockers

One of the Vikings conquers Continue reading

In the world of real estate, ‘stale’ is a dirty word

Nobody likes stale peanuts, pastry or bread (except perhaps cooks preparing croutons or turkey stuffing).

Nobody is a fan of stale listings either.  (You knew I was headed there, I’m sure.)

Unfortunately, those buyers seeking a tempting apartment that has been newly offered on the Upper West Side will encounter, instead, a collection of co-ops and condos turning grey and grubby with age.

Employing statistics from the OLR (Online Residential) database — which many brokers use, including me — I arbitrarily checked time on the market of listings offered at prices between $450,000 and $1 million.  Continue reading

Do you know where the market is going?

(Flickr photo by Martino!)

I’ve heard it said that our housing market is going to swoon next year.

I’ve also heard it said that it’s boring, stable and unlikely to dip more than a few percentage points, if at all.

Do you know?  I sure don’t.  That’s because of scenarios that are unknowable, of which herewith a few: Continue reading