What is going on here (in Manhattan)?

Apartment sales are booming on the Upper West Side. Click to expand.

The talk around the water cooler in many brokerages these days is that the market has gotten surprisingly hot.

Such talk and my impression from searches that I have been conducting for various clients prompted my post a few days ago about the speed with which three- and four-bedroom co-ops and condos on Manhattan’s Upper West Side are finding buyers.

Today, with an MBA at my side, I decided to conduct a more thorough analysis, using statistics from the broker database (OLR).  We analyzed the number of contracts signed and apartments sold on the Upper West Side between 59th and 125th streets from Riverside Drive to Central Park West at intervals over the past year.

Sure enough, there has been an unseasonal surge in contracts signed (green) and transactions closed (orange) recently. Continue reading

Mortgage rates stay low, but borrowers are scarce

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 4.98 percent this week, barely down from last week’s 4.99 percent, according to Freddie Mac.  Last year at this time, it was 5.10 percent.

Yet the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) said in its latest report that loan application volume fell to 10.9 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis for the week ending Jan. 22.  Unadjusted, the change was 10.1 percent.  Compared with the same week a year ago, there was 19.8 percent less activity.  Continue reading