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Friday, February 19, 2010

How negotiable is that apartment?

click the chart to enlarge
January 2010 Manhattan Real Estate  NegotiabilityManhattan real estate market report»Download the report (.pdf)
Corcoran just released some more data on the market place in January
, which gives us some additional color on what I presented in the most recent market snapshot post. A key trend highlighted is average deal negotiability from the last asking price, and it is shrinking in every price category, when compared with a year earlier. In January 2010, our contracts data signed indicated a range of negotiability between 5% to 7%. Sellers have more realistic notions about price, and buyers aren't imagining doomsday scenarios leading them to half-priced properties. Note too that it is negotiability from last asking price, meaning that a property may have already had one, two, or more, price reductions, before hitting a level which starts to invoke offers. Especially in a market that is operating cautiously at best, sellers overpricing a property will deflect buyer traffic and offers, rather than bringing them to the closing table. Manhattan is a dense, "hyper-local" market. Properties in a very tightly defined area, may have significant fluctuations in value, for reasons that are not always so obvious to buyers or sellers. So there are a few moving parts to this.

A caveat is required to prevent misunderstanding. I'm looking at a very broad and general trend, to get a sense here of where the Manhattan real estate market is headed in 2010. It is a bit like looking at the Dow or NASDAQ, each individual stock does not necessarily move in tandem. Every real estate deal is different too. It does not mean that you should look for a 5% to 7% discount off an asking price. It could easily be more or less. The averages have little bearing on what I might recommend to a customer bidding on a particular unit. That requires both research, and good instinct, built on a working knowledge of the market. It tends to be when an agent earns their keep.

» Inventory and negotiability (138 kb .pdf)
» January 2010 snapshot (156 kb .pdf)


Monday, February 8, 2010

Manhattan Residential Market Snapshot January 2010

Manhattan real estate market report» download the complete report as a pdf (156 kb) Here is a snapshot of the Manhattan real estate marketplace as 2009 begins, based on Corcoran's "in contract" sales data. We report that, "Marketwide sales activity slowed in January compared to December 2009. However, condominium sales are up 110% and co-op sales are up 118% versus January 2009. As is typical at this time of year, listed available inventory increased slightly this month as sellers relist their apartments in hopes of striking a deal after the holiday season. Available inventory is still far below levels seen a year ago. In January, the pricing disparity between buyers and sellers continued to close. The discounts this month were among the mildest in over a year. Buyers are typically able to obtain larger discounts for more expensive properties."

click on section below to enlarge
Marketwide sales activity slowed in January compared to December 2009. However, condominium sales are up 110% versus January 2009.
click on section below to enlarge
co-op sales are up 118% versus January 2009.
click on section below to enlarge
As is typical at this time of year, listed available inventory increased slightly this month as sellers relist their apartments in hopes of striking a deal after the holiday season. Available inventory is still far below levels seen a year ago. In January, the pricing disparity between buyers and sellers continued to close. The discounts this month were among the mildest in over a year. Buyers are typically able to obtain larger discounts for more expensive properties.

» download the complete January snapshot as a pdf (156 kb)
» download the fourth quarter 2009 manhattan market report

Monday, February 1, 2010

Tribeca and Lower Manhattan public schools zoned

Proposed Tribeca school zoning mapTribecaMonths of speculation, controversy, and debate ended last Friday as the District 2 Community Education Council voted 6-4 for "Option 2" as the temporary public school zoning for lower Mahhattan including: Tribeca, Battery Park City, The Financial District and Seaport area. Downtown Express reported that, "all Tribeca children west of Church St. will be zoned for P.S. 234. Children in east Tribeca and the Seaport will attend the Spruce Street School; the Financial District south of Liberty St. and Battery Park City south of Albany St. will attend P.S./I.S. 276; and north Battery Park City and Gateway Plaza will attend P.S. 89." The Tribeca Trib is running the map shown here as well as great coverage on the issues too. The plan redistributes and creates new school districts for PS 234, PS 89, PS 397 & PS 276. Unzoned PS 150 also serves the general community. Here's what the local media had to say:

The Tribeca Trib: Panel Chooses Zoning 'Option 2' for Downtown Schools

Downtown Express: Cheers & jeers as school Option 2 is picked

Broadsheet Daily: CB1's School Zoning Task Force endorses Option Two


Saturday, January 30, 2010

Coop application foiled by Facebook page

Coop application foiled by Facebook page I heard a story about a coop Board turn down last week, when I went out with a customer to look at some Greenwich Village apartments. We dropped by to see a "Gold Coast" property off Fifth Avenue near Washington Square Park, which had just come back on the market. It was a lovely place, in a converted townhouse, with just five units in the building. As we were about to leave, I asked the listing agent why the apartment had come back on the market. It could be for any number of reasons like the buyer exercising a mortgage contingency, or an inspection problem — both of which seemed unlikely by the condition of the building, and the fact that the co-op required a 50% down-payment, which most banks would see as a low risk, loan to value ratio on lending. It turns out that the prospective buyers were the parents of the person whom would be the occupant/tenant of the apartment. The Board's due diligence process included online research of the tenant. It revealed a 'Facebook' page for the potential occupant which included pictures that raised an eyebrow with some the Board members. While I'm not privy to knowing exactly what the problem was, it seems reasonable that some owners became worried about loud parties and late night noise. It projected a questionable image, and the Coop Board turned down the application.

Fair? Its hard to say. Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. Sometimes pictures lie. But the secret to passing a Board's scrutiny is to appear completely uncontroversial. It's a simple lesson, in today's wired world of social networks, potential buyers and their agents, need to review the online presence of the applicants, and edit where needed. As an agent, I go through a very exacting process in preparing financial data and references for Board packages; guiding customers through the coop approval process. That can all be undone today by a few badly considered photos from a New Years party.

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