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Friday, January 7, 2011

What's selling now?

Corcoran Manhattan market reportCorcoran just released the Fourth Quarter 2010 Report on the Manhattan Residential Real Estate Market. You can download the complete report here for free. It breaks down the neighborhood trends for coops and condos, with a look at luxury homes, lofts, and townhouses too. In 2010, buyers took advantage of lower interest rates and soft prices, to trade-up into larger units, and move from rental properties to ownership. The residential luxury market (the highest priced 10% of apartment sales) is on the rebound now in most categories, by both sales volume and value. This market is less sensitive to interest rates, and may be reacting more to renewed optimism— a good sign overall. Additionally, in the commercial investment sales market, companies like Massey Knakal are reporting market wide sales "up substantially over 2009 levels". Some of that represents distressed assets being sold off, but it also means that capital is being deployed again, and the market is finding a new normal. More signs that the recovery is well underway.

It's fair to say that 2010 was a bit of a roller coaster too, with very uneven distribution of sales volume; more properties traded in the second half of the year; summertime was slower than in 2009. I think that market demand is basically holding steady, but have often described the marketplace to colleagues as being "fickle" in 2010.Year over year prices trended upward, yet Q4 compared to Q3 of 2010, showed a mixed bag, with downward pressure on prices evident in some categories. The full report shows the details.

That being said, residential home buyers are expecting better value, being choosy, and taking longer to negotiate & close. Sellers who are realistic on pricing and delivering on value, have had good experiences in making deals. That means a good property, priced well, prepared professionally for showing, and with superior marketing to potential buyers. Brokers widely reported over-bidding on properties where these factors come together, bringing offers to a tipping point.

what's your home worth?
As interesting as the latest sales metrics may be, they are broad indicators of trends. Every property is unique, and can perform quite differently in the marketplace. My job is to help my clients price their homes right, and close their deals. If you're thinking about moving, I can provide an analysis of your specific home's value, free for the asking. Send an email or call (212) 444-7844 for more information. Here are some highlights from the Q4 2010 Corcoran Report:
whats popular? downtown homes still lead the market

NYC apartment sales by neighborhood Q4 2010

Downtown Manhattan remained very desirable. Neighborhoods like the Village, Soho and Tribeca seemed to muster really consistent demand all year. However, overall the Downtown neighborhoods below 34th Street, decreased slightly in market share from last quarter, and one year ago. Upper East Side sales also decreased in market share, from 24% a year ago, to 21%. In contrast, the West Side and Midtown East increased their market share to 22% and 11%, respectively.

buyers trade-up in size, and into home ownership

NYC apartment size sales Q4 2010

Buyers are taking advantage of lower prices and lower mortgage rates. Trading up to three bedrooms, and moving from rentals into a first purchase, are trends I've noticed— confirmed by the year over year numbers. Studios decreased in market share to 12% from 15% a year ago, while One-bedrooms increased to nearly 40% of the market, up from 36% a year ago. Two-bedrooms decreased slightly from 34% a year ago, while three-bedroom and larger residences increased to 17% of the market, up from 15% a year ago.

the luxury market softly rebounds
click charts to zoom in manhattan luxury homes

Manhattan’s luxury market is defined as the highest priced 10% of all co-op and condo sales. These are some of the most expensive homes in the world, and the return of the luxury market is a sign of confidence and strength in the future. These are buyers who are placing substantial equity into their property purchases. Sales volume was up in the second half of the year. Compared to a year ago, median price increased 8% to $4 million while average price per square foot decreased 5% which is attributable to larger apartments trading. Versus Third Quarter 2010, median price declined 2% while average price per square foot increased 6%, to $1,904. Luxury resale condos increased 18% in median price and 9% in average price per square foot versus a year ago while luxury co-ops increased 22% in median price with no change in average price per square foot.

Q4_2010 corcoran report

get the total picture of 2010

Download the complete Corcoran Report on the Manhattan Real Estate Market here. It is compiled with closed transaction info from NYC records with the help of Propertyshark, and Corcoran's own experience as the city's largest residential listing broker. It uses market-wide data based on transactions that closed in the Fourth Quarter 2010 (October 1 through December 31) and compares them to closings that took place last quarter and during the same quarter one year ago. I'd be pleased to answer any questions or comments you may have.

download: fourth quarter 2010 market report

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Global Economy in 2011

Here's a post from our friends at the Wharton School of Business that takes a look at the economy globally, with some cautious optimism. I believe that in our local New York City housing market we've clearly seen some stability and even modest appreciation off the lows. Yet nationally, housing and unemployment are still putting a drag on the economy. Read on to see the perspective of some Wharton faculty on how that may look in the year to come.

The Global Economy in 2011, A Rocky Ride or Smoother Sailing Ahead?

In the United States, most experts are betting that the economy will grow stronger this year, but they warn that high unemployment, a depressed housing industry and other problems could dampen growth. Meanwhile, the fate of the euro is still in question, and the specter of inflation looms large in China, Latin America and India despite their resilience to the recent global downturn. In the Middle East, observers expect renewed growth, but they note that resource constraints will become an increasing problem for the region. Knowledge@Wharton spoke with Wharton faculty and other experts to get their views on what's ahead for the world economy in 2011.

The United States: Housing and Unemployment Risks

In the U.S., "the threat of a double dip [recession] has passed," says Wharton finance professor Richard Marston. The congressional compromise to extend the Bush-era tax cuts for two years should help the country's recovery, he predicts. "With the added stimulus of the tax bill, we will have continued growth in 2011."

Still, "there are some very severe downside risks," says Wharton finance professor Franklin Allen. One main concern is housing: Allen, Marston and other experts agree that the uncertain housing market will continue to be a drag on the economy.

"In the housing market, the data is going in different directions," Wharton real estate professor Susan M. Wachter notes. Some reports show sales picking up, while others show prices continuing to stagnate. "The bottom line is that we're bouncing along the bottom.... We're likely to be in a holding pattern." Fortunately, Wachter says, the weak housing market probably will not do too much additional damage to the economy, as most of the harm has already been done. New-home construction is not likely to go lower, for example.

According to Wachter, the housing market has enjoyed some stability because many lenders have been reluctant to foreclose and sell homes at fire-sale prices. A lender is typically willing to sell when a foreclosed property can fetch as much as the appraisers say it is worth, she says, but appraisers rely on backward-looking data that is quickly out of date in a volatile market, making it hard for the lender to know what a property is really worth.

Another problem, Wachter notes, is the recent rise in mortgage rates, which increases payments, makes homes less affordable and undermines sales. In addition, high unemployment reduces the number of potential buyers, she adds.

"The unemployment situation is still not good, and that's going to take a long time to change," Allen agrees. "There's been some upturn in consumer spending, but until things start looking better on the housing and unemployment fronts, I think [consumer spending] won't drive things forward."

While many U.S. retailers reported a good holiday season, it is not certain that consumers, who are the most important force in the economy, will continue to reverse the tight-fisted habits developed in the past few years, Allen says. Whether they have really loosened their purse strings or did so only for the holidays is unclear.

U.S. economic growth also could be hampered by ripple effects from the continuing debt problems in a number of European countries, Allen notes. In addition, economies are starting to overheat in some developing countries, especially China, he says. China has started to raise interest rates to curb inflation, but that could draw more foreign money into China, possibly depriving other countries of capital they need to speed growth while worsening China's inflation problems.


Friday, December 31, 2010

Beauly lives everywhere in 2011

Beauly lives everywhere in 2011, live who you are

headroomIt is good to take a moment to say thank you to everyone who help make 2010 a productive year. I've seen many changes this year personally and professionally. With each opportunity, and every challenge, comes a chance to change and grow into what's next. Little of it would be possible without the support and inspiration of my family, friends, clients, and colleagues. Beauty lives in every home I help people with, and I'm privileged to have been a trusted part of my client's lives as they make important transitions in them.

I believe the more challenging real estate market has been a chance to revisit the basics, and optimize what works best to serve my clients. The blog has been a little bit quieter, but not silent in 2010; as I've pursued more personal, face-to-face networking, while stepping into online social networking too. There is little doubt that the new town squares like facebook and twitter are important; they provide a common context and tools for communicating with broad groups of constituents. Yet the thought still lingers that when everyone's online experience is transmitted through standardized social media packages, it also colors and homogenizes the messages. The din of conversation is louder than ever. For a business like mine, that emphasizes design and branding to bring value to property marketing, the challenge is to break through the clutter. Striking the right balance will be key to finding success in 2011 and beyond for people in many businesses.

Happy New Year to all, and best wishes for a prosperous and productive 2011. May you find beauty everywhere you look.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Catching my breath in the New York Times

The New York Times headroombreathing roomI was thrilled to find myself quoted in today's New York Times Real Estate cover story by Jake Mooney, on a subject that I've been contemplating a bit since representing and selling my recent exclusive at 171 Duane Street on Duane Park in Tribeca; which is a tiny vestige of an old Dutch farm, and the city's second oldest park. The Times was interested in finding out more about living on these tiny public spaces and New York’s Tiny Squares Offer Breathing Room, or simply "Breathing Room" in the print edition is the result. My quotes seemed to help set the tone of the article:

Peter Comitini, a vice president of the Corcoran Group, said the appeal of places like Duane Park in TriBeCa, where he recently sold a three-bedroom co-op unit, was largely visual.

“It creates a little more room to breathe between you and the next closest building,” Mr. Comitini said, “and I think that has value right there.”

Besides interesting locations — squares tend to be in places where the urban grid breaks down, like Greenwich Village, the Upper West Side near Broadway and Lower Manhattan — Mr. Comitini said units near squares had built-in advantages.

“They offer greater light and views, and those are things that are at a premium in the city,” he said. “The stuff that doesn’t sell is the stuff that faces a dark shaftway in the back, and this is the polar opposite of that.”

In the course of the interview I spoke to them about the value and sense of ownership that locals take in these smaller, neighborhood parks. Duane Park's land was bought from Trinity Church for $5 in 1797, an investment that is beloved by the neighborhood to this very day. I like my colleague Lee Zimmerman's quote on people's relationship to these spaces, that becomes an eloquent final word on the story, “It’s not Central Park; it’s not Prospect Park; it’s not Battery Park,” he said. “You kind of lose yourself in those kinds of parks. In the smaller parks, you find yourself.”

read the full story on The New York Times: Breathing Room

read more about the history of Duane Park in Tribeca: Friends of Duane Park

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