Autumn in New York Real Estate: SALES
As usual, Labor Day marked a pick-up in sales inventory after the typically slow summer. The seasonal increase should lead to more opportunity for buyers and more sales.
According to Noah Rosenblatt, founder of UrbanDigs.com, a website that tracks Manhattan’s inventory in real time, post-Labor Day sales inventory is on par with last year, when there was a 12.5% increase in listings from the beginning of September to October.
During the week after Labor Day this year, 560 new sales listings were added, representing a 4.5% inventory increase.
But those looking to buy are facing several challenges: Banks are relunctant to loan money to those without extremely strong credit, and in some cases they’re looking for a 30% down payment. For those with flawless credit and a good chunk of change to put down, however, now might be a very good time to buy.
“It’s a tumultuous and opportunistic time,” said Frances Katzen of Prudential Douglas Elliman.
Katzen said she’s seeing a lot of good deals under the $1 million price tag, especially one-bedrooms. “You’re seeing 900-square-foot apartments for $525,000 in Manhattan. It’s happening,” she said.
Many brokers said the combination of record low interest rates, tax breaks for homeowners and increasingly high rents is translating to more first-time buyers, who find that mortgage payments are lower than monthly rents. The volatile stock market also makes home equity a more attractive idea.
According to Andrew Barrocas, CEO of residential brokerage firm MNS, now is definitely a time to buy.
“Prices haven’t gone up significantly, but I think they will go up in the next three to six months,” he predicted. “There’s always a lag in the market, and right now I think we’re at a tipping point, where demand will soon exceed the inventory and prices will inevitably rise.”
On the flip side, UrbanDigs’ Rosenblatt thinks prices may fall. “Manhattan real estate has had a two-year progressive reflation. The peak was about four to five months ago,” he said.
Rosenblatt expects the third quarter to remain strong but the fourth quarter to be a bit slower in terms of both pricing and sales.
A 1,000-plus-square-foot two-bedroom condo at 58 Metropolitan Ave.in Williamsburg. Contact Jay K. Overbye, 212-381-2247, firstname.lastname@example.org or Rachelle Camhi at 212-381-4287, email@example.com
A 509-square-foot-studio at The Edge, 22 N. Sixth St. in Williamsburg. Contact Rachel Weiss at MNS, 718-222-0211
Convertible two-bedroom pre-war co-op at 205 E. 78th St. Contact Eva Gellin at Halstead, 212-381-3215, firstname.lastname@example.org
Classic seven (three-bedroom, three-bath) co-op at 210 W. 90th St. Contact Louise Phillips Forbes at Halstead, 212-381-3329, email@example.com
If you’re looking for a sale or rental deal (and who isn’t?), experts point to Harlem.
“There was a huge influx of new developments, and now there’s a lot of available inventory,” said Candace Taylor, deputy managing editor at The Real Deal.
Tracie Golding, a broker at Stribling & Associates, offered this advice: “Within each neighborhood, there are fringe neighborhoods that lie on the outskirts, like west Chelsea and southern TriBeCa. I recently sold an apartment just north of Madison Square Park — it’s the fringe neighborhood of the Flatiron — and there are deals to be had there.”
In terms of neighborhoods ripe for development, in Manhattan there’s Far West Chelsea, Hudson Yards (the Far West Side of midtown) and in the outer boroughs, Brooklyn’s Atlantic Yards and Gowanus neighborhoods and the Queens waterfront (specifically Long Island City).
The future of large developments
In the coming months, don’t expect to see many big new condo developments open for sale. Developers are not confident that they can fill a large number of apartments.
However, Jim Gricar, general sales manager at Halstead, said he’s seen relatively new developments really start to move.
“Developers who had issues with financing in 2008 and 2009 have secured additional financing and made adjustments to their prices,” he said. “We’ve seen a definite uptick in activity in those new buildings. We’ve seen a better degree of negotiability on new development product in the last year,” Gricar added, noting an uptick in sales specifically at 540 W. 28th St. in the spring and summer. ”