Manhattan’s residential real estate market will continue to elude the magnitude of the problems of the rest of the nation during 2012, panelists assembled by New York Law School concurred this week.
But the participants — who included Curbed founder Lockhart Steele and brokerage executive Diane Ramirez — grappled with the question of why our housing market isn’t booming.
Noting limited inventory, real estate attorney Stuart Saft of the Dewey & LeBoeuf firm the told room full of lawyers and real estate professionals on Tuesday that “you would think the market would be going nuts.” It isn’t, he asserted, because of a lack of consumer confidence. Said he:
People are uncomfortable, they’re nervous. . . Nobody has any confidence as to what will be happening in the future.
They are worried about ascertaining accurate market value, worried that prices will go down in the future, worried about their jobs and worried about financing, Saft explained.
Especially on the last concern, financing, appraisal executive Jonathan Miller maintained that tight credit was hampering growth in New York and across the nation. Referring to lenders, he declared:
They’re lending but only kicking and screaming.
Miller went on to say that borrowers have to meet not just triple-A standards, but quadruple-a standards. However, he continued, Manhattan’s huge volume of foreign buyers — who pay cash to take advantage of the weak dollar — partially insulates Manhattan from financing challenges.
“Our position is very good going forward,” he said, adding that the Manhattan housing market for the next couple of years would be “slow, stable, moving sideways.”
Added Saft, apparently only half in jest: “All of you should leave this room immediately and go out and buy something.”
Anyone who has read my previous posts will know that I couldn’t agree more with what they had to say.
Tomorrow: Weekly Roundup
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