Don’t laugh, but REBNY’s ‘survey’ is a joke

The Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) released its latest survey results today, unwittingly providing insight into why they don’t merit your attention.

As a member, I’m sure I got an e-mail asking for my participation.  I may even have responded, though I don’t recall.  But any survey that depends on self-selected responses is not worth the bytes it consumes.

What was the methodology?  I have no idea.  What I do know from today’s press release is only this:

The Broker Survey is conducted quarterly and was sent to REBNY Residential Division members in July after the close of the second quarter.

The release begins with the insupportable conclusion from a “firsthand account of the state of the NYC housing market” supplied by residential brokers that the rental market is showing greater improvement than the sales market.

According to the release, an unspecified number of respondents in unnamed boroughs cited fewer negotiations and concessions, “with 31 percent more brokers this quarter compared to a year ago reporting closing rental transactions at asking prices and 15 percent with rental closings at asking price over last quarter.”

For all we know, there were 10 more such responses out of last year’s 33.  Or was it 100 out of 333 or 1,000. . . Well, you get the picture.

The release continues:

The broker survey revealed that 7 percent more brokers compared to last year indicated they closed sales at or above asking price. Also, 6 percent more brokers this quarter report executed contracts of sale above $2 million dollars indicating that activity is picking up on these high-value properties.

The survey data reinforces the Second Quarter Residential Report released in July by REBNY which showed the total dollar value of sales up 72 percent to $7.6 billion from the same quarter in 2009 and citywide sales volume up sixty-five percent.

Ten percent more brokers reported closings this quarter compared to last year and 6 percent more reported closing sales this quarter compared to last quarter.

Michael Slattery, a REBNY senior VP, was predictably cheered by the survey, which flies in the face of what I am seeing and all the other data I am reading.  Quoth he:

As indicated by the brokers and the data, the sales market is showing a strong and steady increase. The rental market especially is showing signs of improvement and both market sectors are heading in the right direction.  These are reassuring signs that the housing market is getting healthier.

In REBNY’s words, other “data” highlights:

  • 71% of brokers reported closing sales this quarter compared with 61% in 2Q 2009;
  • In 2Q 2010, 61% of the brokers reported that rental transactions closed at or above asking price. In 2Q 2009, 29% of rental transactions were at or above asking price;
  • Brokers reported clients were most interested in one- and two-bedroom apartments with the two-bedroom category showing a 5percent increase this quarter versus 2Q 2009.

Believe what you want, believe what you wish, but don’t take REBNY’s survey as gospel–and dated gospel at that.  It’s nothing more than a transparent attempt to, as we used to say in the newspaper business, get ink.

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Malcolm Carter
Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker
Senior Vice President
Charles Rutenberg Realty
127 E. 56th Street
New York, NY 10022

M: 347-886-0248
F: 347-438-3201

Malcolm@ServiceYouCanTrust.com
Web site

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