Real Estate Market Weathering the Storm? The 2009 Market Review

There's no question about it: economically speaking, it's been a very weird couple of years here in Gotham. While the outright market collapse so many feared seems to have been largely avoided, sellers who have seen double-digit declines in their apartments' value may be less than jubilant.

The Lay of the Land

It's a long-held truism that the city's residential housing market fluctuates in direct proportion to the strength or weakness of Wall Street’s indicators. While the New York City market was actually ahead of the economy in recent boom years, as the nationwide recession ground on into its third year, activity in the city’s housing market reflected the bleak climate in the Financial District. The sale of residential properties now is lagging behind the economy, which has shown some signs of life in recent months.

That being said, the local housing market did log a stronger month for sales in January of this year. Inventory declined sharply over the last year, from 12,000 properties offered for sale in 2009 to 8,700.

There are some interesting figures in relation to trends in the amount of co-op and condos on the market. Last year saw daily inventory levels well over 10,000 for most of the year, soaring close to 12,500 in the second quarter of 2009, then towards the end of the year a decline to the 8,000 range. As for total listings sold, in 2007 there were over 20,000 apartments sold, whilst in 2008, and 2009, both years saw a decline to around 12,000 closed sales.

"In general, transactions rose steadily from about 2003 to 2007, then they started to decline about the second quarter of 2008,” says Michael Slattery, senior vice president at the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY). “Beginning in the second quarter of 2009, sales began increasing quarter to quarter though well below the high points of 2007-2008.”

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