According to many observers, the worst of the recession is over. We’re now several years out from the collapses and near-collapses of Lehman Brothers, Washington Mutual, Countrywide, Bear Stearns, AIG and other big-name financial firms.
Even if the acute bloodletting has passed however, are we back to pre-recession levels of prosperity? Layoffs continue—last December, Citibank announced it would lay off 11,000 workers. Unemployment figures go up and down. And, more to the point, has the real estate industry—especially the co-op and condo market—truly recovered yet?
What’s the general mood of the industry? There are many kinds of co-ops and condos, from the four-story building in Staten Island to the luxury towers of Midtown and Downtown Manhattan. But is there something that unites them all? One factor to take into account may be that New York never felt the effects of the recession as deeply as much of the rest of the country—demand for real estate here always remained strong. Perhaps for this reason, professionals are generally optimistic.
“As we enter 2013, we have certainly hit the point of “post-recession,” and prices are expected to increase for the foreseeable future,” says Seth Hirschhorn, senior managing director of Citi Habitats. “The New York real estate market continues to surprise even analysts. The total number of transactions has continued to increase throughout 2012, despite the continued shaky economy and a chronic lack of inventory.”
Kathy Braddock, co-founder of Rutenberg Realty, says, “The market has been very steady, and I see solid demand for property. Loans are still much harder to get—but with the right help, and good credit, they are being done.”