How’s The Manhattan Residential Real Estate Business?

Market musings at 55 Vestry Street-Maisonette

Market musings in a Tribeca maisonette-55 Vestry Street

Wednesday evening I went to a state-of-the-market update meeting held in a duplex maisonette in the Fairchild, at 55 Vestry Street in Tribeca.  Speakers included Howard Lorber - Chairman and President of Prudential Douglas Elliman, Jonathan Miller - co-founder of residential real estate appraisal firm Miller Samual (real estate market guru,  blogger extraordinaire and podcaster),  and Raphael DeNiro Executive Vice President; Associate Broker Prudential Douglas Elliman-Exclusive Marketing Broker for The Fairchild.

Here’s some of their thoughts and market insights:

  • Real estate in Manhattan “had a run of fantastic years so if you compare everything moving forward to 2006 or 2007 you’re bound to be disappointed”.
  • As the stock market goes up for a few days the phones begin to ring but when  the market has a few losing  days the phones become silent.
  • Contract activity usually peaks in May, but because of the Lehman closing, the market took a “time out” and is 3 months out of synch-we’ve seen the peak happen in August.
  • NYC traditionally lags the rest of the country in real estate downturns. This particular cycle is reminiscent of 911 when all sales dropped off then began to pick up again in January/February 2002
  • Lots of all cash purchases-37% cash (usually 5-10%) 63% financed. This is a good sign that the market is turning the corner
  • Inventory is down about 23% in lock-step to where it has been for the last 10 years. There is concern of “shadow inventory” being injected into the market both form new developments and sellers thinking this is the time to sell.
  • First time buyers activity make the entire market feel more confident.
  • Most of the “action” is weighted in the low end of the market.
  • Lots of contracts below $1million have helped to erode inventory levels and prop up sales prices in that piece of the market.


  1. Bob Borger says:

    Thanks for your comment. I try to post at least twice/week. But sometimes there aren’t enough hours in the day!

    Sorry if the post wasn’t clear. The meeting I described was an industry “insider” discussion of the market. Quite frankly it was refreshing (to me) because it wasn’t filled with the usual hype and business-is-fantastic-getting-better-every-day real estate speak.