Manhattan Pending Sales Starts To Slow

Posted by urbandigs

Wed Jul 20th, 2011 10:34 AM

A: I encourage all brokers to read these updates on the current state of the Manhattan real estate market. Today, lets see where we are at over the past month or so and how the pace of demand for Manhattan property has performed relative to the very strong past few months. Naturally, we should expect to see the pace of demand tick down during the months of July & August, and that seems to be the case now.


A few weeks ago I noticed the 30-day pace of new contracts signed in the Manhattan marketplace ticked down to from the low 1000s to the mid/high 800s. If there is a market shutdown or surge, this market ticker will be the first tool on to capture it and tell you!

Remember that this real time ticker is a direct connection to the REBNY Listing Service (RLS) and updates every 2 hours as brokers update the status of exclusive properties on the market. It's as real time as you can get. I like to view the 30-day # because a daily or weekly total is not telling of a change in a trend. And we are after changes in the trend here at

Here is the ticker as it looks at 10:05 am:


The 30-day pace of new contracts signed is in the low 800s. If you follow these kind of real time market stats, you will know where we came from and which way the market is ticking - i.e., right now we are ticking down from the low 1,000s in late June.


The second signal I saw was in the recent tick down in our Pending Sales metric.

Pending Sales: To be counted in our PENDING SALES Inventory, the listing must first be measured in an ACTIVE state and then be changed to CONTRACT SIGNED state by the listing broker. In addition, the listing broker must maintain the CONTRACT SIGNED state at least once in the last 90 days. If a listing closes via our daily ACRIS sales feed, it is removed from the Pending Sales measure. All 'in contract' listings that do not close within the first 180 days are no longer counted as a pending sale.

Therefore, pending sales is a real time measure of new demand and updates daily. As new data comes in the front end, stale data and sold data goes out the tail end - so its always updating to ensure the highest accuracy for current market conditions.

Here is a quick 1-MONTH % Change Snapshot of Manhattan Pending Sales By price point:

ALL MANHATTAN - Down 8.6% over the last 4 weeks
<$1M PRICE POINT - Down 10.2% over the last 4 weeks
$1M-$2M PRICE POINT - Down 6% over last 4 weeks
$2M-$5M PRICE POINT - Down 9.4% over the last 4 weeks
$5M+ PRICE POINT - Down 1.3% over the last 4 weeks

The $1M-$2M and the $5M+ segments of the Manhattan marketplace are outperforming the broader market trend in the last 4 weeks. The lower end of the market has been performing the worst out of all price points.

Sellers should quickly revisit pricing strategy to ensure they don't get left behind a summer slowdown that may be occurring right now as I type this. Its all about price. If you have been on market for 3+ months and thought you were priced right yet didnt get any acceptable bids, re-think your price! If you want to sell, don't blame your agent, blame the price!

Buyers might be able to tweak their bidding strategy a bit if general pace of demand is ticking down. It might not seem as active out there as it was a few months ago, given the data I see. Still, to me there seems to be a lack of well priced quality product out there to choose from.

Finally, I'll leave you with a chart showing you how Manhattan Pending Sales is performing in the low end versus the high end of the market:


This chart goes back to JAN 2008 and really paints a picture of how Manhattan was exposed and reacted to the credit crisis before and after Lehman's failure. In short, the reflation began in mid 2009 and started in the lower end - notice the green line shoot up in mid 2009? The higher end really got going in late 2010 and early 2011 and has since outperformed the broader market - see the quick facts table I just wrote about above.

There you have it!