The Monthly Update - April 2017

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So, where is the market headed?

This is the question on the mind of every buyer and seller in the market today. On the one hand, there are plenty of encouraging signs from all over the media and blogosphere. The broker-coveted Oshlan Luxury Market Report, for example, noted last week that 330 contracts at the $4 million-plus price point were signed in the first quarter, a 33 percent increase over the same period in 2016. But (and there always seems to be a "but" in this market), the average days on market is over 390 days with a 7 percent drop from the original asking price. Sellers were probably willing to negotiate even further given the average days the properties spent on the market in this price point.

Where the high end market goes the rest will follow, right? Not necessarily. We are finding our higher end listings, while popular with appointments, are a bit slower to receive offers given the amount of inventory, again, that's borne out by Oshlan reported average days on market. This is in stark contrast to our "affordable" inventory, which can see as many as 18-20 buyers at each open house and offers within the first or second week. Even though we saw the Fed vote to raise interest rates last month, there was actually a slight dip in rates at the consumer level, which is a likely a contributing factor for the strong response for the more affordably priced homes in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Well, that and the fact that inventory in that sector is limited and not likely to grow any time soon.

Whether high-end or affordable, there is no real answer to the question, "So, where is the market headed?" But — and I’ve harped on this a thousand times before — the current market is so price sensitive that the placement of your asking price relative to other listings in the area can be the difference of selling in 3 days or 300 days.

Looking Back At What Closed...

The 2,649 total closings in the first quarter was down 11% year-over-year. This decrease was related to weak contract activity in 4Q16 (down 12% Y-o-Y), which was attributable to high asking prices and the uncertainty regarding the U.S. presidential election. New development closings continued to decline this quarter (down 20% Y-o-Y), though it should be noted that they are not indicative of the current market due to their delayed and often clustered closing schedules. The median closing price of condos decreased 6% year-over-year to $1.7M but the median closing price of co-ops increased slightly by 1% to $778K.

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