All the Manhattan Housing Charts You Need!

Posted by urbandigs

Wed Mar 30th, 2011 07:28 PM

A: A quick update and overview of the types of Manhattan housing charts is tracking.

1. The Real-Time Market Ticker

This broad market ticker captures the notable status changes for all REBNY exclusive listings in the Manhattan marketplace. That's probably about 90%-93% of the overall market excluding FSBOs and non-REBNY Manhattan brokerage firms inventory. For most purposes, it IS the market! Since the data doesn't lie, its worthwhile for us to track it.

Everyday Manhattan inventory moves from Active on the market ---> to Off-Market ---> to Back on Market ---> to In Contract --- and finally, to Sold & Closed. created a tool to track these daily changes, and then follow 7-day and 30-day running totals so that we can see the market both heat up and cool down as it happens! By tracking inventory as it moves from one listing state to another, we are tracking the market as it makes its moves! Here is the ticker as of 9:08pm March 30th.
April1-1.jpgIf you focus on the above chart and the blue-boxed row, you will see that Manhattan has seen the following new contracts signed:

Today = 61
Yesterday = 59
Past 7-Days = 306
Past 30-Days = 1,039

The ticker will ultimately produce the next batch of charts, the bar charts!

1. The Bar Charts

At the end of the month, a final algorithm kicks in and scrubs the monthly production totals for Active, Contracts Signed, and Off-Market listing changes. We only count uniques, and we only count the last updated state at the time the month ends. The sole purpose of these charts are so you can track how many monthly changes there were, and compare that to prior months and prior years performance. Ever wonder how many contracts were signed this month, or how many listings were taken off-market this month, now you know!

Below is a monthly bar chart showing you Manhattan Off-Market Inventory trends (green = 2008, orange = 2009, maroon = 2010, purple = 2011):

What Does Off-Market Mean? - Our Off-Market charts track all REBNY exclusive listings that move from an ACTIVE state to a OFF-MARKET state. In Rolex, this means the listing was changed to a POTM (Perm off market) or TOTM (Temp off market) state. Once a listing is Off-Market for 270 days, it is no longer counted in our charts.

The reason why Off-Market trends are so important is because it can be the missing link to what the market is actually doing. For example, Active inventory can go UP for two reasons:

1) if off-market trends fall noticeably, or
2) if pace of new contracts signed fall noticeably

In times of stress, we should expect to see monthly Off-Markets trends rise as sellers get less interested in selling for a price that the market cant produce! In active markets, we should expect to see monthly Off-Market trends fall, as sellers either go to contract or keep listings active until they get the bid they are looking for!

1. The Line Charts

Finally, we have line charts tracking Active inventory, Off-Market inventory, and Pending Sales inventory trends.

Below is a chart showing you Manhattan Pending Sales since Jan 2010:

Since real estate is highly seasonal, its nice to compare how we are doing now to how we did the same period 1 year prior! The above chart which measures the pace of Manhattan demand, shows you how 2011 is performing compared to the same period a year ago. As you can see, while the market is very very active right now we still have more work to do to beat out last years performance!

Props if you made it this far!!!

New Manhattan Monthly Sales Charts Go Live

Posted by urbandigs

Fri Mar 25th, 2011 05:28 PM

A: We started rolling out a few upgrades last week, and the latest will be our new Manhattan Median 90-day moving average monthly bar charts for the submarkets. This will replace the median sales line charts and make it much easier and more accurate for you to interpret. As usual, cleanup of the data was required. We removed the top 5% outliers on both ends and we removed all bulk-unit sales activity within ACRIS that otherwise greatly skewed the median trend. Then we decided to publish a month's data after a 30-day lag, due to the gap between the ACRIS sale date and filing date. The idea is to wait to go live on the most recent month, to allow more time for sales that month to be filed and measured. Since the bulk of March's sales get filed in April, there really isn't any other choice but to wait for it to publish March's performance. The reality is, even as more months go on chances are high that past March sales will still come trickling in. The argument for a month or two of revisions (publishing a "Preliminary" # followed by a "Final" revised #) is something we are considering as a future upgrade.

So once more, the new Manhattan Median Sales monthly bar charts will still be exposed to the lag time between the actual "Sale Date" and the city "File Date"; a discussion that made it to The Real Deal. I can tell you that in JAN alone, I found 720 sales that actually sold in 2010 and were not included in 2010 quarterly reports - I stopped there and didnt count February or March 2010 filings. Understanding this lag between 'sale date' and 'file date' allows us to tweak the methodology so that we report trends to you as real time as possible, but without sacrificing integrity. Therefore, we will publish sales trends on a 30-day delay; i.e. on April 1st, 2011, February's sales bar will be published.

Here is a quick snapshot of how the Upper East Side median sales trends look since 2008 in the new bar chart form:


The site is coming along. Up next will be the new chart user interface (UI) that will allow for much more powerful charting, and then the PDF tool for all charts. As usual, feedback is greatly appreciated! What kinds of charts do you want to see with the Manhattan inventory data?

Quick Manhattan Check

Posted by urbandigs

Mon Mar 21st, 2011 06:53 PM

A: Sorry all, I'm just too busy to put up new discussions lately. The market still seems active to me, although a notch lower than how it was the last 6-7 weeks. The 30-day new deals signed ticker is also showing this as it trades around the high 800s, instead of the high 900s it was last week. Here are some charts and remember that you can always check Manhattan Active Inventory, Pending Sales, & Off-Market trends for Free!

The Manhattan Real Estate Market Ticker:

march21ticker.jpgPast 9 Months Manhattan Pending Sales vs Active Inventory:


If anything this shows how relatively slow late last summer was as Pending Sales (green line) slumped while Active Inventory (red line) saw a temporary surge.

New Expanded Submarkets Go Live

Posted by urbandigs

Thu Mar 17th, 2011 09:21 AM

A: We will be rolling out a few upgrades over the next four weeks, the first of which are an expansion of the # of popular Manhattan submarkets/neighborhoods as options in our chart system. We also rolled out New Median Sales bar charts that I will write about later. The next items on the To-Do list are a) white labeled PDF report tool and, b) new chart user interface w/ added PROPERTY TYPE input option that will allow you to further slice Manhattan charts by Coop, Condo, and Townhouses.

For now, I want to show you how we expanded the total neighborhood options for all real time charts:


We hope this helps you as you use UrbanDigs' Manhattan real estate tools to see how a specific submarket is performing. I'm really excited about the next few upgrades we are working on because it will simplify our entire Chart section and allow you to compare how any submarket is performing relative to the broader market. All in time. As always, if you have suggestions on how to make these tools better please do not hesitate to contact me. Enjoy!

Mid-March Check: Manhattan Real Estate Ticker

Posted by urbandigs

Tue Mar 15th, 2011 09:38 PM

A: Many asked, so here it is. This is a snapshot of the Manhattan real estate ticker as of 10pm March 15th. There are still plenty of bids out there as evidence by the 7-day and 30-day CONTRACTS SIGNED row. Check it out.

The Manhattan Real Estate Ticker


For newbies, the UrbanDigs Manhattan market ticker counts all the notable REBNY exclusive listing status changes as they occur in real-time. If you ever wondered how many contracts were signed so far today, this is your tool. It updates up to 7x a day as all REBNY members update their exclusive listings. As you can see by the above snapshot, it also tells you:

YEST --> Yesterday's total capture
7-DAY --> A 7-day moving total
30-DAY --> A 30-day moving total

To see 304 new contracts signed in the last 7 days is very encouraging. We should also note that the pace of new active listings has been rising the last week or so; another welcome trend for buyers out there frustrated with the lack of well priced quality product. Hopefully some new stuff recently made its way to market. As of now, current demand is tracking very nicely with new supply as this 'active season' continues to be, active.

Since contracts signed data is also lagging, representing the end result of weeks of negotiations and attorney due diligence, any meaningful change out there that may be happening today will have to wait a week or two to show up on our ticker. As it stands now with 982 signed deals in the last 30 days, this market will have to stay hot to maintain these levels.

Year to date, the 2011 Manhattan Market trends are (click the links below for some free charts):

Active Inventory --> UP 10%
Pending Sales --> UP 14%
Pace of Listings Being Removed From Market --> DOWN 11%

The data doesn't lie!

**Subscribe here to unlock all the Manhattan real estate charting tools**

Japan Crisis Hitting Markets...

Posted by urbandigs

Tue Mar 15th, 2011 07:59 AM

A: The earthquake in Japan is now having a clear impact on global markets, with some Asian indexes down over 10%. Futures show our markets are set to open the day sharply lower, about 2.5% lower. The human element in this disaster is unimaginable, and now the ripple effects in the financial world are causing some worry. The thing about the financial element is where we came from. Equity markets are up huge in the past 2 years carried by the momentum of a fed engineered reflation; not the most stable foundation for a long term sustainable move. Considering where we are and where we came from, all thats needed is a non financial natural disaster on the other side of the world to rattle markets big time.

First, here are a few places you can donate to help with relief efforts in Japan:

UNICEF - Japan

American Red Cross - Japan Relief

A bunch of people are asking me if this may ultimately creep into the confidence of buyers in Manhattan. My answer is, 'if it starts to affect their personal lives and/or confidence, then yes'. And how does that happen? The easiest way is by having an impact on equity markets and their personal portfolio.

Here is a peak at current Equity futures, courtesy of


Opening down another 2.5% will bring the recent correction to about 6-7% or so. But it was a quiet correction and people are not really concerned yet. Should this extend to a 15%-20% correction, the media will make sure that people will start to take notice.

As it is now, today's market is still seeing plenty of bids and a lower pace of 'new active' inventory coming to market; compared to this period last year. So I see two concerns surrounding the sustainability of the current market strength of around 900-1,000 new contracts signed per month:

1. An extended correction in equity markets that feeds on itself and ultimately starts to affect buyer confidence...

2. Limited inventory, or new options, make it harder and harder to continue at the current pace of demand. Think about it, in March of last year we saw 1,060 new contracts signed but also had about 5,800 new active units hit the market in Jan-March of 2010 - leaving plenty of inventory to go after. This March, we are currently on pace for about 950-1,000 new contracts signed, but we are on pace to only see about 4,800 new active units hit the market between Jan-March 2011 - leaving less inventory to go after. Since active markets will see demand follow inventory trends, as buyers skip over stale products for upcoming fresh products, it should get harder to maintain the current level of demand with less product coming to market.

Combine these two forces, if equity markets do in fact take a turn for the worse, and we will see big time pressure on current demand trends. When we see the HY/IG bond markets really turn, that's when its time to worry. Time will tell. I'm going to go out on a limb here, considering current new inventory trends, and say that I do not think we will be able to match March-May 2010's levels of demand that saw 3 consecutive months over 1,000 new deals signed. I hope I'm wrong!

UWS Outshining UES in 2011...

Posted by urbandigs

Thu Mar 10th, 2011 09:43 AM

A: Lets check in on how the Upper East & West side markets have been performing so far in 2011.

First, lets check out ACTIVE Inventory trends for both the Upper East Side & Upper West Side:


UES ---> 1,000 current ACTIVE units, up 9.8% YTD
UWS ---> 1,036 current ACTIVE units, up 14.2% YTD

Next, lets check out PENDING Sales trends for both the Upper East Side & Upper West Side:


UES ---> 270 units in contract pending closing, down 3.6% YTD
UWS ---> 385 units in contract pending closing, up 14.9% YTD

It's clear that for the first 9 1/2 weeks of 2011 that the Upper West Side is outperforming its counterpart. If we did a ratio of Active to Pending for both markets, we would find the UES lagging behind the UWS in terms of local demand relative to supply.

UPCOMING NEW CHART U/I: We have been hard at work on a number of great new upgrades. In a few weeks we will:

a) launch an expanded 16 Manhattan submarkets
b) launch a white labeled PDF printable report tool
c) launch Coop-Condo-Townhouse charts
d) launch a re-engineered Chart user interface (U/I) that will allow you to measure any submarket relative to its broader market - we will build intelligence into the platform so that worthless charts (charts w/ not enough data) won't even be an option

Until then, we can only measure a submarket versus another submarket, like I just did above for UES vs UWS.

The Manhattan Market Ticker

Posted by urbandigs

Tue Mar 8th, 2011 08:34 PM

A: Another 2-day stretch with 100+ new deals signed. We are now approaching 1,000 new signed contracts in the past 30 days (remember, its a moving window). This is the best measure of demand we have for current Manhattan conditions. Use the data as you wish. In my opinion, sellers should take advantage of conditions while the bids are plentiful; strongly consider price cuts if your listing is over 8 weeks on market with more than 25 buyers coming through w/out a strong bid. Buyers should adjust the aggressiveness of bids a tick higher for high quality well priced product; I assume you know what that is in your local submarket. At the same time, stay within both a) your comfort zone and b) what you deem as fair market value for your target property. This is not the environment to bid low and extend a negotiation!

The real-time Manhattan market ticker:


I think it was around February 9th when I noticed the 7-day moving average for new Contracts Signed start to trade around the 250-ish level.

We should break 1,000 on the 30 day new contracts signed column sometime in the next week if the current pace continues. Given the lower pace of new active listings recently, this is a pretty strong market signal. Im finding more of my clients having difficulty finding 'the one' right now. Not much I can say other than to wait and be prepared to move if the price is right for the next desired unit that pops up. I would find it harder and harder to keep up this current pace of demand if inventory levels stay this tight the next few months!

To beat out last year, we need to stay above 1,000 for the next three months!

Buyfolio + UrbanDigs Seminar: Monday March 14th

Posted by urbandigs

Tue Mar 8th, 2011 12:48 PM

A: I really do encourage any Manhattan brokers out there to attend the 1/2 day workshop that Matt Daimler (founder of & I will host on Monday. With new innovations coming out each year to solve all the problems that we see within this industry, its up to everyone to adapt in order to stay ahead of the curve. While hopes to be the place you go to see "how the Manhattan market is doing", hopes to "streamline the NYC home buying process".

WHEN: Monday March 14th

TIME: Two sessions, Early Session (9:00am-10:30am) / Late Session (11:00am-12:30pm)

WHERE: REBNY Mendik Room, 570 Lexington Avenue @ 51st Street

RSVP NOW: Click here to register for Free now...


How The Pace of Inventory & Demand Affect Interpretations

Posted by urbandigs

Tue Mar 8th, 2011 09:55 AM

A: Interpreting inventory trends is the most challenging endeavor we are currently facing. Now that we have all these real time charts and tools, what the heck are they telling us? What may seem simple to one person, can seem incredibly confusing to another. Today I want to explain how supply trends and demand trends affect one another. In short, the pace of new inventory coming to market should be interpreted relative to the pace of inventory going into contract. Let me explain.

Here is a general interpretation chart that can be used to interpret strong trends both UP & DOWN that users will find from real-time UrbanDigs Charts:


Again, this is very general. But in strong markets, we will see inventory trends fall while pending sales trends rise. Also in strong markets, we usually see off-mkt inventory trends fall as sellers have less incentive to pull listings off the active market when buyer sentiment is high.

On the flip side, in very weak markets (think post-Lehman in late 2008 and early 2009) we will see inventory trends rise while pending sales falls. In addition, we likely will see a rise in off-mkt inventory trends as sellers look to take listings out of a market that lacks strong bids. Since the market does not exist in a vacuum, you will always have those sellers that must sell, those sellers that are testing the market and those sellers that want to sell but have time to do so. How macro forces and general economic conditions affect buyer and seller sentiment is another challenge that we always try to stay on top of.

Back to the discussion. At all times, ACTIVE inventory trends should be interpreted relative to PENDING SALES trends.

Think about it, if the pace of inventory falls and the pace of demand rises that is quite a different story than if both the pace of inventory and the pace of demand rise together. Its relative. If pending sales trends fall but at the same time inventory levels fall too, then the decline in the pace of demand is somewhat muted by less inventory out there! I discussed this exact situation last August when I stated:

"Movement in sales pace should be analyzed with respect to relative movements in active inventory. What I mean is, imagine if sales pace stays constant but active inventory increases by 15%. Although sales pace did not change, one should interpret that as a slightly weaker market because demand is not meeting up with supply the way it did when inventory was 15% lower. "
Today we have two things going on when we compare current market trends with the same time exactly one year ago; in an attempt to filter out seasonality:

First ---> we see the pace of new CONTRACTS SIGNED trends at or slightly below levels seen in 2010...down <1% from Feb 2010 to Feb 2011.

Second --> we see the pace of new ACTIVE listings hitting the market way down from levels seen in 2010...down 26% from Feb 2010 to Feb 2011.


Its clear that the pace of new supply is way down this February compared to last February, yet the pace of new deals entering contract is about the same. That is a sign of strength. Looking ahead, it will be harder and harder for the pace of new contracts signed to rise if we do not see a relative rise in the pace of new listings coming to market. Makes sense right? If inventory is tight, buyers have fewer options and we should expect a lower pace of new deals signed. If it turns out that the pace of new deals signed in fact does continue to rise, while the pace of new active listings coming to market remains low, that will be a sign of a continuing strengthening market.

NOTE: For those that are looking at ACTIVE inventory line charts for the past 1 year, you will notice we are at the same levels today that we were a year ago. If that leaves your head scratching since the pace of new listings hitting the market is down so much, simply look to Off-Mkt trends and you will find your answer. In short, the pace of listings coming OFF market is down about 37% from a year ago. A further sign of strength as noted in the interpretation chart at the top of the discussion. Its always nice to look at trends after Lehman's failure to confirm what is discussed here. Rarely do we have an event that defines such a drastic change in market sentiment to confirm general interpretations of market trends.

A Glimpse Into The "ACRIS" Closed Sales Lag

Posted by urbandigs

Mon Mar 7th, 2011 10:16 AM

A: I think every Manhattan broker should read this and fully understand the final lag in the Closed Sales equation. Quarterly market reports are uber-lagging and represent a market from say 3-6 months ago, at minimum. We all know that when a transaction closes the deal is done and should be available for use as a comparable sale. But when it gets recorded as public record is another story. For this piece, you must understand the difference between the SALE DATE and the RECORDED/FILING DATE. I've been going over recorded sales in the past few weeks tracking this 'gap' and let me tell you, 'its all over the place'!

Let me show you. First off, the date I picked for this discussion was February 28th, 2011 where we have 58 Recorded Sales Filings. Now, let me break down the lag between "filing date" and actual "sale date" this way first and then I will show you one of the crazy outliers:

Of the 58 Recorded Sales filings on February 28th, 2011:

  • 28, or 48%, actually sold less than 2 weeks prior ---> the fastest filing was a sale on Feb 22nd

  • 15, or 26%, actually sold between 2-4 weeks ago

  • 4, or 7%, actually sold between 4-6 weeks ago

  • 3, or 5%, actually sold between 6-8 weeks ago

  • 8, or 14%, actually sold 8+ weeks ago ---> the slowest filing was a sale on January 28th, 2003!

  • Talk about an outlier! If we wanted to measure the average lag between "filing date" and actual "sale date" of the transaction, think of how a sale from over 8 years ago would screw with the data! It sounds like a mistake, but it's not! Let me show you.

    The sale from January 28th, 2003 was at 99 Jane Street, unit 4D. Let me show you a) the ACRIS filing and b) a partial snapshot of UrbanDigs list of all filings on Feb. 28th, 2011:

    1. The ACRIS Recorded Document for 99 Jane Street, Unit 4D


    2. UrbanDigs Confirmation Plus Other Feb 28th, 2011 ACRIS File Recordigs

    Below is a partial snapshot showing most of Page 1 of 3 for Feb 28th sales filings. The 58 sales are before 'cleansing rules' kick in to eliminate the non-residential sales - think storage unit sales, duplicates, and other strange transfers that always need to be excluded from market metrics.

    For ease, I sorted by SALE DATE so you can see the earliest sales that finally made its way to public record about a week ago. The 99 Jane St, unit 4D sale in 2003 is outlined at the top! Then you got 7, count em', 7 recorded filings of sales that occurred in 2010! I highlighted the 2003 sale in red border and the seven 2010 sales in green border:

    So, 14% of the 58 residential sales filings recorded on February 28th, 2011, actually sold and closed in January, February, November & December of 2010! Full disclosure folks! Its important to understand the lag because these are the sales that are fueling brokerage firms' Quarterly Market Reports! There has to be a way government can make the public recording of NYC sales transactions more efficient! I think we all deserve to have the best and most recent data available to us, in the fastest possible way. High quality analytics! That is the mission of in the past, right now, and in the future.

    Feb in the Books - CSGNs Up, New Listings Down

    Posted by urbandigs

    Tue Mar 1st, 2011 09:36 AM

    A: February saw a rising pace of new contracts being signed and a slowing pace of new listings hitting the marketplace from the prior month. For those buyers having trouble finding quality product that is priced right, your not alone. While most of my buyer clients have contracts signed or contracts out right now, the ones that didn't find 'the one' are still complaining about a lack of inventory in their submarkets. That's the anectdotal report. Now lets show you the real data.



    Notice how we had 844 new signed contracts in February. This is:

    - Up 30% from prior month
    - Down <1% from same period 1 year ago

    The reason the market 'feels' strong is the month to month change in the pace of new deals being signed. But that is just half the story, so lets move on to inventory trends.



    This is now the 5th consecutive month where the monthly pace of New Active Inventory hitting the marketplace is down from the same period one year ago. Just look at the above chart and you will see what I mean. Notice how we had 1,454 new Active units come to market in February. This is:

    - Down 14% from prior month
    - Down 26% from same period 1 year ago

    It is what it is. Now I just want to explain a very important element to how these bar charts are calculated compared to the 30-Day Real-Time Listings Update table on the left side of

    * The Real-time Listings Updates table is a daily updating tool and is as real time as we can get. Due to data integrity issues with the RLS data and Broker Status Updates, we see an average of 5%-7% or so of redundancy in this tool. Think about it. If an ACTIVE listing goes Off Market, then ACTIVE again, then Off Market, then ACTIVE again in a 4 week period, the Listings Update table will correctly keep counting the listing as a NEW ACTIVE on the day the broker changes the status from Off-Mkt to Active. Nothing we can do about this on the fly with a tool like this.

    * To compensate for the above, the BAR CHARTS that tally up the monthly totals has a final algorithm kick in BEFORE the totals are published on The algorithm a) counts ONLY unique listings to remove all duplicates and b) counts ONLY the last state that the broker set at months end. These rules were necessary after discovering all the data breaches during development and the variations of data challenges that exist behind the scenes.

    EXAMPLE: Consider this hypothetically possible example:

    Feb 1st --> Listing changed from existing ACTIVE to OFF-MKT
    Feb 10th --> Listing changed from OFF-MKT to ACTIVE
    Feb 27th --> Listing changed from ACTIVE to CSGN

    Each change is captured in the TODAY column as the broker changes the status in the RLS.

    Our systems would only count the listing once as a CONTRACT SIGNED at the end of the month, because that is the last listing state when the bar chart is published.

    Therefore, the bar charts will ALWAYS be a bit lower than the 30-day Totals you see in the real time listing update ticker. All of these rules are for higher integrity analytics to track market changes. And yes, there are tons of variations of these issues out there that had to be accounted for.