Whether we are in a buyers’ or sellers’ market is clearly an important consideration when pricing an apartment. Apartments that are overpriced to start invariably eventually sell for less than they would have if priced properly from the beginning. Buyers, too, need to understand the environment of the market they are in to bid correctly.
In 2008 – 2012 it was easy. After the stock market crash we were clearly in a buyers’ market. From 2012 through 2016 we were clearly in a sellers’ market. There was little inventory because of few new developments during the down years and few sellers ready to come to market, despite there being a lot of pent up demand. Virtually every first Open House had 40 buyers milling around and 3 to 5 offers within a day or two, usually driving the price above the original ask.
Today's environment is much less clear cut. The economy is doing well but the stock market, while at a high level, has been resembling a roller coaster. There is a plethora of new development, and sellers are no longer reluctant to come to market. Days on market are increasing, with the average time to sale easily 3 months or so and some units sitting much longer, but some are still selling after the first Open House, with multiple bids.
The market is now segmented, not uniform, and opinions about it seem to change every month. The most recent general opinion is that luxury larger apartments over $2-3million are now a buyers' market because of large numbers of new developments, while properties priced under $1million are still a seller' market because builders, particularly in Manhattan, are building few of those and many first time buyers are looking.
The status of your particular market-segment - East Side/West Side; 1bed or 3 - is crucial in determining whether or not to go for the reach price 10% above the last recent sale, or price cautiously to induce traffic and perhaps a bidding war. It's also crucial knowledge in negotiating a buy.
In New York City, having six month's worth of inventory on the market is generally agreed to be the benchmark for whether supply outweighs demand or vice versa. So, if in your particular submarket - say one bedroom condos in Midtown West - the number of units on the market is six times the number likely to be sold this month, that is considered an equilibrium between a buyers' or sellers' market. If there are more than six month's worth of sales on the market that is an oversupply, or a buyers' market. Fewer would be a sellers' market, with less inventory than the market demands.
Determining supply is easy, simply go on any one of the listing services tied to the Real Estate Board of NY listings, and count the number currently on the market in your market segment.
Current demand - the number that will likely be bought this month - is a little trickier, since no one can read buyers' minds. However, a good surrogate marker is the number of similar properties currently in contract. Each one found a buyer within the last few weeks motivated and qualified enough to not just shop and go to Open Houses but to sit down and sign a contract. Contracted units is thought to be a more accurate marker than Sold units, because even a Sold unit that closed yesterday probably went into contract three months ago or more.
So, for instance, in the 1-bedroom Midtown West condo market segment mentioned earlier, there are currently 14 units in contract, but there are 124 units on the market. That is almost 9 months supply. That is not as severe a buyers' market as the 12 to 24 month or more supply that was probably available in 2009, but it is buyers' market.
This is not the only factor that needs to be considered in pricing, or in submitting a bid for, that 1 bedroom Midtown West apartment. There are many other factors, such as whether it is truly a uniquely wonderful property that can't be found elsewhere, recent sales in the building, etc. But it is a crucial consideration in arriving at a sensible and STRATEGIC price.
If you or anyone you know has any questions about this or any other factors pertaining to securing your financial future by purchasing or selling a NYC home or investment, please contact me.
Jay Molishever, Associate Broker
917 538 4516
Associate Broker - Platinum Award
387 Park Avenue South 4th Floor New York, NY 10016
Real estate agents affiliated with Citi Habitats are independent contractor sales associates and are not employees of Citi Habitats. Citi Habitats is a licensed real estate broker located at 387 Park Avenue South, NY, NY 10016. All information furnished regarding property for sale or rent or regarding financing is from sources deemed reliable, but Citi Habitats makes no warranty or representation as to the accuracy thereof. All property information is presented subject to errors, omissions, price changes, changed property conditions, and withdrawal of the property from the market, without notice. All dimensions provided are approximate. To obtain exact dimensions, Citi Habitats advises you to hire a qualified architect or engineer. This is not intended to solicit property already listed. Equal Housing Opportunity.