Stats for 2019’s first quarter show that as inventory continues to expand, transaction volume and sales prices are declining. Despite the recent highly trumpeted $238M condo purchase at 220 Central Park South, New York’s housing market remains sluggish. The good news is that mortgage rates are holding and even dropping, and despite an increase in the mansion tax, residential buyers retain the upper hand.
First introduced in NY State’s legislature five years ago, a pied-à-terre tax is receiving renewed attention as a direct reaction to the recent $238M sale at 220 Central Park South. The state seems to be scrambling to fund coffers to pay for a host of capital projects, following New York’s ill-fated Amazon loss and delayed efforts to monetize the legalization of marijuana and casino gambling.
Are the challenges for homeowners who need to buy and sell at the same time any different in a fast seller’s market with limited inventory than in a slow buyer’s market with abundant supply? A strategic approach to a simultaneous closing of your current home and subsequent purchase is essential in any market.
Last August, I characterized 2016-2018 as “real estate’s great adjustment years” when four trends prevailed: rising inventory, slipping prices, more time on the market and multiple price reductions. We’re in for more of the same in 2019 as buyers and sellers come to terms with market changes and prices stabilize. In the current environment where uncertainty reigns, it behooves the real estate professional to be especially vigilant in the preparation of the all-important co-op board package and recognize the co-op’s obligation to protect the interests of shareholders as they evaluate a buyer’s qualifications and also seek to maintain property values.
Are we approaching a turning point in Manhattan’s housing market? Are prices nearing the bottom? Only with the benefit of hindsight can we determine highs and lows, but it feels very much like 2009 when home prices sank and remained flat until regaining traction and climbing past the peaks of 2007 to new highs seven years later in 2014.
Much has been made in the press of late of the shifting New York real estate market. Although buyer’s decidedly have the edge today, all is not lost for sellers. If you are in the fortuitous position of trading up to a larger property, while you may not do as well as you would hope for on the sale, you will more than likely make up for that deficiency on the buy. In this current climate, two important strategies can boost sales: pricing realistically and doing your best to convert that first offer into a sale.
We’re just past the 10-year anniversary of Lehman’s 2008 collapse and into the 9th year of U.S. economic recovery which trumpets at least three robust measures: a 3.7% unemployment rate that’s the lowest in nearly 70 years, a 20% rise in GDP, and a bull stock market that’s up more than 50% from 2007 even after the last two-day downward slide.... The current housing slowdown which began in NYC at the upper end of the market is now palpable in every market category... Since 2009, there's never been a better time to purchase a home, despite spiking interest rates and tax reform concerns.
Change in our local residential real estate market, and for that matter in life, is a given and our only constant. For every up, there comes a down, and for every step forward, there’s a step or two back. Life has its turns, and real estate has its cycles.