Whew! It’s a virtual stampede of buyers out there

(Flickr photo by abrin523)

Competition for apartments started to heat up about a month ago, and now the flames burn more intensely than ever as a result of withering inventory.

I went on Sunday to eight or nine open houses that had been listed on the Upper West Side in just the prior week, and they were mobbed.  The only one that wasn’t packed in the first five minutes was a $279,000 studio remarkable only for how oppressive it was.

Worse for buyers, at least two of them had offers, including that studio.  In some cases, there were multiple offers — even before those initial open houses.

Listing agents were running out of show sheets, prospective buyers were literally bumping into each other, there was a palpable sense of panic.

“Irrational exuberance,” one of the agents muttered none too originally but emphatically accurate.

We are not alone in that observation.  Indeed, confirming that the housing market is galloping once again, the new Real Deal proclaims in a headline that bidding is “absolutely insane.”

Lord Keynes had a point.

A sellers’ market that is so robust is not a good thing, occasionally even for sellers. Continue reading

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Out and About: FSBO will get what he deserves

View from balcony of a condo owner who “doesn’t have to sell.”

The owner of a one-bedroom condo on a corner of Broadway in the mid 90s was telling me how he had carefully done his research before setting the asking price for his pied-à-terre in a post-war building with a health club and other amenities.

Jeff had looked at comparable prices online, checked sales in his building and decided on $669,000 for the apartment, which has maintenance of $735 and real estate taxes of $375 a month.

“But,” he volunteered, “I don’t know the condition of the other apartments. What do you think?” Continue reading