Latest Thoughts on the Manhattan Real Estate Market

Posted by urbandigs

Tue Dec 27th, 2011 01:34 PM

A: As we close out the year, lets take a quick look at the freshest data that is rolling in. The last few weeks of the year are usually seasonably slow in terms of new deals signed, new listings activated, and new closings filed - so set expectations and strategies accordingly. If history is a guide then we will have to wait til February to see a real uptick up in activity. For now, lets check in on the market ticker and see how the last three Decembers' production stacks up against how we are doing this year. This year over year (y-o-y) look will give us a chance to identify relative strength or weakness without the distractions of seasonality.

Current General Manhattan Market Observations (click to see free chart) as of this morning:

ACTIVE SUPPLY --> 6,565 actively marketed units for sale

*Conclusion: Manhattan supply is tight as inventory is down 7.4% over the last 12 months. We saw a 6 week rise in new inventory after Labor Day, but that quickly ended in late October and the trend has been down ever since. We are currently at the lowest levels of supply for the year of 2011.

PENDING SALES --> 1,906 listings In Contract and Awaiting Closing

*Conclusion: This broader measure of Manhattan demand is basically flat over the last 12 months. The market saw a surge in demand back in March that peaked out in late June. The high end led the way. This ultimately powered a strong Q3-2011 report. Since then it has been the typical late summer/fall slowdown with your little uptick after Labor Day.

Here is a look at the market ticker that is picking up daily listing changes throughout the Manhattan market:

ticker_dec27.jpg

7-Day (black box) - Over the last 7 days, 137 new deals were signed
30-Day (red box) - Over the last 30 days, 712 new deals were signed

Both of these levels are down from late November. For newbies, here is a quick comment on how this daily Market Ticker works (tutorial here):

** Shows on the left side as "Real Time Listing Updates" - we call it that because it is tracking all REBNY RLS mandated listing updates (every 14 days a listing must be updated) on all Manhattan Exclusive property listed at member firms (excludes fsbo's, non-REBNY members and open listings). I'd estimate the REBNY RLS feed to cover 90%-93% of the Manhattan market. The ticker updates hourly and we get 6-7 updates per day. This tool is as real time as we can get to track demand for Manhattan property.

** The 7-Day & 30-Day counters are MOVING WINDOWS - this means that every day the total count moves 1 notch and at all times has fresh data coming in the "front end" and stale data falling out of the "tail end". Please refer to this diagram as an example of how the often referenced 30-Day column works as of this writing (as you can see, the 30-day #s count from Nov 27th to updates so far included today, Dec 27th)

30dayticker.jpg

Over the course of Nov 27th to this morning, there were a total of 712 new Contracts Signed. There was also a total of 773 new Active listings added to the marketplace. Monitoring this Real Time Market Ticker data table will show you supply/demand tick ups and downs as they occur in real time. Its your pulse on the market.

Now, what is normal for this time of year? To do this we need some more information, mainly, a chart showing us total contracts signed per month so we have some frame of reference. Whats normal for December? How many deals were signed last December compared to this December, etc..

To do this simply go to Charts --> Broker Updates YoY tab and you will see the following Monthly Contracts Signed chart for the Manhattan marketplace where we can continue the analysis of this Decembers production:

dec_yoy_csgn.jpg
**The December 2011 bar will be published in this chart on January 1st once all data is in.

On this page I can see how many deals were signed in past December's:
DEC 2008 saw 349 deals signed
DEC 2009 saw 842 deals signed
DEC 2010 saw 712 deals signed
DEC 2011 saw
??? deals signed

Using the Market Ticker tool discussed earlier and shown at the top of this discussion, I can see that the monthly pace of deals signed right now is 712 - so we are trending right at last year's pace of production but noticeably below levels seen in DEC 2009. Id expect that to fall a bit lower before closing out the month.

Conclusions: A pace of low 700s for new deal volume in December is not so bad given this time of year. The important thing is that the market saw its usual bottom in September and then ticked up in both October & November - the typical post Labor-Day move for this market. Im not going to put too much weight into the DEC 2009 #s because that year in general saw heavy volatility and a delayed seasonality from the credit crisis (our active season was pushed back to mid/late 2009).

All in all, in terms of demand we are a bit more sluggish than last year, with less supply, in what is typically the 2nd slowest month in the calendar year for Manhattan real estate! So we should interpret accordingly and sellers should expect this muted demand trend to continue until February or so. Recall the strongest months for the Manhattan market in my late November discussion.

Manhattan Seasonality - Here is a list showing the top performing months in terms of 'New Signed Contracts' for Manhattan real estate since 2008 - format "MONTH - TOTALDEALS":

1. May - 3990
2. June - 3989
3. April - 3980
4. March - 3899
5. Feb - 3218
6. July - 3126
7. Aug - 3021
8. Nov - 2869* (NOV 2011 almost finished, 30-day ticker # used)
9. Oct - 2788
10. Jan - 2782
11. Dec - 2537* (DEC 2011 not in yet, avg of 3yrs used)
12. Sep - 2482
By far the months of March, April, May & June represent the Top 4 strongest months in the calendar year in terms of new deal volume; so if your a seller and can wait, the holidays and early January is typically a good time to remove and 'freshen up' a listing with the plan to re-list in February; either at or below your last asking price. In the end, its all about your asking price, your level of motivation to sell and your expectations on where bids should come in given relevant comps and current market conditions. For buyers, take advantage of good deals that you may be able to get now before deal volume levels usually rise. Of course, waiting is no problem as long as you raise your expectations for possible buy side competition as newly listed, quality property hits the market early next year. Losing 1 or 2 highly desirable properties to higher bids may affect your aggressiveness when that 3rd desired property pops up. You can always use UrbanDigs real time tools to quantify demand trends both in the market and your targeted submarket.

For now, expect a quarterly decline in a) sales volume, b) median price action and c) average price action when the firms release their reports on January 1st and 2nd - I'd be shocked if we rose from Q3 on these 3 levels given our seasonality and how strong last quarter was. Cheers!



Preparing for the Q4 Report / Happy Holidays!

Posted by urbandigs

Fri Dec 23rd, 2011 10:51 AM

A: I just wanted to take a moment to wish everyone a very Happy Holidays and upcoming New Year! May 2012 be a safe, healthy and prosperous one!! The Q4 Manhattan report is due out January 2nd and will be powered by sale closings that took place between October and year end; deals that were likely signed between late July and October! Always keep in mind the two major lags on closings data: a) it takes 2-4 months to go from contract signing to closing, and b) it takes weeks if not months for that sale to be filed with the city register and publicly recorded. Lets take a peak at how real-time trends in the Manhattan market over the last 3-4 months may impact this upcoming Q4 report that so many use to interpret the current state of the market.

Flashback almost 6 weeks ago to November 14, "Looking Ahead to Q4" and you got my early predictions on how the quarter may shape up:

"The pace of newly signed Manhattan deals started to slow from its peak in July and eventually bottomed out in October. The pipeline of 'pending deals' today is significantly lower than 3 months ago leading to the conclusion that Q4 sales volume will most likely be much lower than this past Q3. I would also expect slight qtr-to-qtr drops in both median and avg price action given the makeup of deals waiting to close for Q4 - i.e., all price points saw a decline in pending sales during Q3. "
Whenever you are attempting to interpret how the current market is doing, the answer will vary depending on how far back you are comparing it to. For example, I can say the following statements about the state of the current market and have all of them be accurate:

**The market today is trading at a weaker level than it was during the summer of 2007
**The market today is trading at a stronger level than it was during early 2009
**The market today is trading at a weaker level than it was in early 2011
**The market today has ticked up from sluggish levels in September & October

All of these statements are true because current trends are relative to the start point in your comparison. So when preparing for a new quarterly report release and attempting to interpret how the market is today compared to a past point in time, usually we focus on:

1. Year-over-Year trends - to factor out seasonality
2. Quarter-to-Quarter trends - to get an idea of price action given latest sale closings

This discussion will focus on quarter to quarter trends for Manhattan. Since sale closings are so lagging and reflect a marketplace from 4-6+ months ago, we must look to current Inventory Trends (shifts in inventory trends such as supply and new deal volume, a.k.a. pending sales) for a clue on how the market is doing right now.

Back on Nov 14th when I wrote the last discussion on the upcoming Q4 report, I compared closing volume with pending sales to see how the pace of all Manhattan new deal signings might impact future sales volume. At the time (click here for that chart/discussion), sales volume was at its highest levels for 2011 reflecting the very strong market that we experienced back in early 2011 - remember, a rise in new deal volume today will take 4-6 months to impact final sales #s! That is what powered such a strong Q3 report and the rise in both median/avg price trends that came with it - all those high powered deals signed in March/April/May/June closed in July, August & September fueling a strong Q3 report that was released October 2nd.

The Q4 findings will report on sale closings for October, November and December that get filed before the reports publication date. Sales volume for these months are dependent on new deal signing trends for July, August, September and October. So in order to understand how the Q4 pipeline of closings may play out, we should look at pending sales trends from July to end of October:

pending_june_oct.jpg

Click here for larger chart. Forget what is happening in terms of new deal volume in November and December. Production for those months will not show itself until the Q1 2012 report is released in early April. This is what I mean when I say things like, "quarter to quarter trends may not jive with how the market is doing right now". This is also the biggest reason why a market like Manhattan needs real-time tools to track segmented market trends and why readers should be educated on what the quarterly reports are actually reporting on. If you want to see what may lie ahead of you, don't look in your rear view mirror!

Now, lets take a bigger picture view of how the leading indicator for Manhattan, Pending Sales, is trending compared to the verifiable ACRIS Sales Trends; remember that the UrbanDigs ACRIS Manhattan Sales trends are set to a 90-day delay to allow time for lagging sales to roll in. If you are confused by the ACRIS Delay and why we engineered the metric this way, please read the discussion "A Glimpse Into The "ACRIS" Closed Sales Lag" written back in March.

MANHATTAN PENDING SALES (green line) vs MANHATTAN ACTUAL SALES (red line)

salesq4-2011.jpg

I would comment on the #s in the chart above in the following way:

1. The rise in pending sales reflected the surge in new contracts signed from early to mid 2011; especially the higher end of the Manhattan market. Subscribers can see monthly contract signings here.

2. That rise in pending sales in early and mid 2011 ultimately fueled a strong Q3 report as those deals eventually closed. The rise in the red line reflects the increase in daily closings filed with the City Register at a lag to pending sales. The latest tick we show for Manhattan sales pace is a level of 57 closings a day back on September 21st - which still reflect Q3 levels of action. For sake of accuracy and to eliminate the need for future revisions to this data, we set the sales volume chart to a 90-day lag.

3. The only way to estimate Q4 closings accurately is by looking at the UrbanDigs Pending Sales trend. The trend highlighted here should represent the future direction of Q4 sales volume (the red line). In this case the leading indicator predicts a noticeable downtick in quarter to quarter sales volume for the upcoming Q4 report.

I only discuss broader market trends for these quarterly discussions, but the UrbanDigs system does let you get much more granular to track specific areas and price points across the island. Here are some examples of how subscribers can use UD to further break down these trends and follow markets such as:

- The TriBeca $2-$5M Condo market
- The SoHo $1-$2M Condo market
- The Upper East Side $1-$2M Classic 6 Co-op market

etc..

Last year the Q4 report showed a sales volume decline of 14% from the prior Q3-2010 report, with median price declines of 5%-7% or so. This year I would expect steeper sales volume declines from last quarter with similar median price declines. To me, today's market is a tick or two weaker than it was earlier this year. April, May & June of 2011 marked the peak of the progressively reflation we enjoyed for 2+ years that started in early 2009. Since then, we have ticked down in volume and price action. I see todays market trading around late 2005 to early 2006 levels in most price points. Expect a slow market around the holidays and new year, with action coming back towards the end of January. As is usually the case, we should first see new inventory come on in January followed by an uptick in deal volume in February to kick off 2012's active season.


3-MTH 'Demand' Check for Manhattan Neighborhoods

Posted by urbandigs

Sat Dec 17th, 2011 08:32 AM

A: A quick check on the 3-month pending sales trends for the major Manhattan neighborhoods. The last 3-month pending sales check was two months ago on October 17th, where East Harlem & Gramercy were leading the pack with FiDi & Battery Park lagging behind. Let's see how the segmented Manhattan marketplace has performed since!

3-MONTH PENDING SALES TRENDS

East Harlem: +36.8%
Fidi/Civic Center: +20.9%
Midtown East: +16.7%
Midtown West/Clinton: +15.8%
Tribeca: +13.6%
LES/East Village/Union Square: +11.7%
Murray Hill/Kips Bay: +7.1%
Upper East Side: +3.8%
Gramercy/Flatiron: -2.4%
Inwood/Wash. Heights: -3%
Soho/Noho/West Village: -4.4%
Upper West Side: -7.3%
Battery Park City: -7.4%
Chelsea/Midtown South: -12.3%
Harlem/Hamilton Heights: -34.5%
Harlem/Morningside Heights: -39.2%

You can see how these neighborhoods of Manhattan changed since October 17th, by clicking here.

In terms of the broader market change over the last 3 months, you can simply check the Manhattan Market Trends box in the top left of the site:

3-MONTH MANHATTAN MARKET PENDING SALES

PENDING SALES (demand) --> +0.9%

Out of 16 neighborhoods that the UD system uses to break down Manhattan market segments, 8 of them have outperformed the broader market over the last 3 months.

The Leaders --> East Harlem, FiDi, Midtown East & West, Tribeca

The Laggards --> The Harlem areas, Chelsea/Midtown South

Back in August I did the same check which saw East Harlem as a laggard and Chelsea/Midtown South as a leader. Now the reverse is true - market forces in action as underperforming neighborhoods eventually bounce while outperforming areas tend to cool off after a strong rise.

We will build these tools into the UrbanDigs system in 2012 so that we can track supply & demand trends in all the Manhattan hoods more easily; and pinpoint longer term leaders & laggards.

For those interested how the month of December has been shaping up, lets first take a look at past 'Decembers' to see what is normal for this time of year:

TOTAL CONTRACTS SIGNED FOR PAST DECEMBER's
DECEMBER 2008 --> 349 deals signed (credit crisis)
DECEMBER 2009 --> 842 deals signed (delayed seasonality / reflation from bottom)
DECEMBER 2010 --> 712 deals signed

Both 2008 and 2009 were highly volatile markets, so I would focus on last year's total deal volume for the month of December. Last December we produced 712 new deals signed. To get an idea of where we are on pace to end the month, look to the 30-Day CONTRACT SIGNED section of the Real-Time Listing Updates Ticker on the left (the Manhattan Ticker):

ticker_dec17.jpg

With limited updates in today since its only 9am that I write this, the "monthly pace" of total new deals signed is in the upper 700s. Expect that to drop as we get into the final two weeks of December and the market doesn't produce nearly as many deals as the first two weeks of the month. We probably will end up in the low 700s or so, in line with last year's production for December.


S&P 500 vs Manhattan Pending Sales

Posted by urbandigs

Wed Dec 14th, 2011 02:47 PM

A: I was working on another "risk-off" story as it seems that is the trade in play again on wall street. But then I got curious about how closely the Manhattan marketplace is actually tied to equity markets. Now that we have a way of tracking Manhattan demand in real time, how close is the UrbanDigs measure of "Pending Sales" to the direction of equity markets? So here is a chart comparing Manhattan Pending Sales versus the S&P 500. In short, its more closely tied than I thought!

I would think there would be a lag, perhaps a few months, between whats happening on the street and the pace of demand for Manhattan property. But since we now have a real-time measure of demand, lets check and see how deep any lag might be. First, lets discuss how to capture real time demand. By far the best way to track the pace of demand in any real estate market is to get an accurate data source for when actively marketed properties enter a 'Contract Signed' listing state. Since it generally takes between 2 and 4 months to go from initial contract signing to actual closing, there will always be a 'pool' of listings in a 'pending' state. That pool of listings is constantly growing and shrinking as new market demand changes. Any measure of "Pending Sales" should look back at least 4 months to account for the time it takes to ultimately close.

Q: What is Pending Sales in the UrbanDigs tracking system?

A: The pool of listings that have been changed from an ACTIVE listing state to a CONTRACT SIGNED listing state and are awaiting closing. If a "Pending" listing does not close in 6 months, it is removed from the "Pending Sales" count. This is to ensure that the measure is sensitive to real time changes coming in the front end, and not diluted by old deals that may have delayed closings (i.e., new development units that may not close for 6+ months). There are currently 1,967 listings "pending" closing in the Manhattan marketplace today. That # is up 7% over the last month but flat over the last quarter. As new deals signed today are captured, older deals either close or fall out of the measure.

Therefore we have 4 ways to fall out of what UrbanDigs calls a "Pending Sale" to track demand in the Manhattan marketplace:

1. The deal closes
2. The deal fails to close and is changed to "Back on Market"
3. Its been longer than 6 months from original contract signing
4. The listing agent fails to meet REBNY mandates to update the listing in a 90-day period (REBNY mandates updates every 14 days)

If the market shuts down, the lack of new deals will cause Pending Sales to plummet; signaling to us that demand for property at current asking prices is falling - and that is exactly what happened in late 2008 and into early 2009.

But how close was it to declines in the stock market at the height of the credit crisis? Take a look at this chart comparing Manhattan Pending Sales (green line) to the S&P 500 (orange line):

s&pmanhattan.jpg

Some notes on the numbered bullet points on the above chart:

1. Lehman Fails (Sep 2008) - Bids for Manhattan property quickly disappear and new deal volume plummets sending the UD Pending Sales measure sliding more than 63%. Financing markets shut down, especially for higher end. The high end of the Manhattan marketplace experiences the most drastic discounts from peak levels in early 2009, as fear drastically rose.

2. The Bottom (February 2009) - In terms of new deal volume, Manhattan experienced its bottom around February of 2009. Fear continued for a few more months, but by the time we got into Fall of 2009 it was clear buyers were taking an interest in Manhattan property again. By Fall 2009, sellers were not nearly as quick to hit uber low bids.

3. The High-End Boom (March 2011 - July 2011) - Even though the S&P 500 and the lower end of Manhattan started to progressively reflate throughout 2009 and 2010, the high end didn't see a real resurgence until 2011. Manhattan's high end exploded between March 2011 - July 2011 (subscription required), just as the S&P reached its highest reflation point and sustained that level for a few months. Its as if higher end buyers needed 2+ years to gain back their lost confidence and for financing markets to open back up for those $5M+ deals.

4. Greece/EU Woes Hit Markets (Late July - present) - Right as Manhattan usually experiences a seasonal slowdown, equity markets took a beating in the middle of 2011. It's hard to separate a normal seasonal slowdown from a temporary downturn due to a 17% selloff in stock markets. The last 5-6 months in Manhattan look fairly seasonal to me as we see the end of a Post-Labor day tick up before the end of year holiday season.

Now here we are today facing the same risk averse trade on wall street as EU concerns intensify. Seeing money flow out of the Euro, stocks and commodoties and into US Dollars and US Treasuries is a sure signal of RISK OFF! It's about preserving capital and time will tell if this unfolds to a new lower level. So far we have been lucky, but the luck has been provided by global central banks and governments. At some point the markets may not get what they are used to getting. Look to gold for a barometer of general faith in currencies as Central Banks & Governments finish out this debt deflationary cycle. The light at the end of the tunnel will coincide with gold sustainable selling off!

Cheers!



Buyer "Must Haves" Property Features

Posted by urbandigs

Wed Dec 7th, 2011 10:08 AM

A: Found this Buyer Survey on BusinessInsider.com from Doug Perlson, founder of RealDirect.com, an innovative startup in the Manhattan real estate market. In vertical markets like Manhattan, buyers' expectations and emotions over certain property features can be very different than in suburban markets. Lets discuss.

Over the past 6 years of writing this blog, Ive made it very clear what buyers in the Manhattan markets bid up for:

1) Light/Views
2) Location
3) Raw Space


After these general features, buyers start to focus on things like:

a) Is there a doorman? Security?
b) Is there outdoor space?
c) What is the monthly carry?
d) What building amenities are offered?

...and on and on. BusinessInsider discussed, "What are NYC Real Estate Buyers Looking For?" and concluded:

What buyers "need" (amenities indicated as "must haves," removing "wish list" items from the equation) --

1. Light filled apartment 53%

2. Ample closet space 27%

3. Bathroom in the master bedroom 25%

4. Doorman building 20%

5. Space for a home office 14%

6. Washer/Dryer in unit 12%


nycmusthaves.jpg
Meanwhile, the Top 3 DEALBREAKERS were:

1. Walkup
2. Ground Floor
3. Renovation

"Taking a look at what buyers see as "deal breakers" 44% of buyers will not even consider a walk-up apartment, and 40% ruled out living on the ground floor", the article stated.

These conclusions resonate with what I have experienced in the field over the past 7+ years of being a Manhattan real estate agent. I find ground floor apartments, dark apartments and third floor or higher walkup apartments to be the hardest sells - which basically means that profit potential is limited on the up side given the smaller buyer pool that these properties market to. Sellers of these types of property should manage expectations and be very cognizant of their pricing strategy or else it may take a long while to procure an acceptable offer.

By far in this marketplace buyers bid up for views (think river or park views, followed by full city views) and natural sunlight. After that it tends to be about raw space and whether the subject property is large enough to meet the client's needs. Then comes location - many would think location would be top of the list, but I find this not to be the case in a market like Manhattan. Let me explain.

As Manhattan prices rose and affordability declined over the past decade, buyers widened their criteria of neighborhoods they are willing to live. Buyers that once would only consider living in the West Village, realized that if they are going to buy what they want & need that they may have to consider Chelsea or other neighboring areas. Once that buyer gets a taste of more desirable features and starts to understand what his budget can get in another neighborhood, it anchors them to expecting those now affordable features; such as a bathroom in master bedroom or a full city view. The end result is a buyer who will now have a wider search requirement, dampening the power of "location" as the top desired feature they will bid up for. That is how I find Manhattan's general market to be.

So what do we do with this information? Perlson also goes on to talk about what this could mean for both buyers and sellers:
What this means for buyers: Want a light-filled apartment with huge closets, outdoor space and a home office in an elevator building? So does everyone else. If you're willing to be flexible in your requirements, you're likely to get a better deal on a home. Decide what's most important to you and stand firm on those features, but be willing to consider apartments that don't entirely fit the bill for your "wish list."

What this means for sellers: You may not have an apartment with brilliant exposure, but make sure you turn on all of the lights and open the curtains when you have showings, even during the day. If your definition of "showing ready" means stashing all of your stuff in the closet, think again. Move some things into storage if you need to, and consider installing a closet organization system if you don't already have one. Terraces, patios and gardens should also be paid careful mind, since outdoor space can be a big selling point. If you have it, consider converting an alcove space or a spare bedroom into a functional home office.

Lacking some of these top amenities? Don't worry, most apartments aren't perfect. Just do your best to maximize the space and features you do have and remember to price accordingly.
Sellers absolutely should know what buyers pay up for and how their property matches up in the open marketplace. Buyers should understand that in this market everyone is looking for the same thing and it may not just be a good location!

Cheers!


Checking in on the Upper East Side Market

Posted by urbandigs

Tue Dec 6th, 2011 05:22 PM

A: I apologize for the slow content lately. It likely will be this way until we launch our new Manhattan comps systeml as Im back to spot checking raw data for integrity issues related to building a real good comps tool. Since UrbanDigs recently went live with chart features to track the Co-op, Condo & Townhouse markets in Manhattan, I have encountered interesting trends in some neighborhoods. Today I wanted to show you how the Upper East Side co-op market has performed relative to the condo market since January of 2008.

As one would expect, the Upper East Side condo market has been significantly more volatile compared to the Upper East Side co-op market over the last 4 years. This chart basically shows you the pace of demand in real time for UES co-ops versus UES condos:

PENDING SALES FOR THE UPPER EAST SIDE CO-OP MARKET (green line) vs CONDO MARKET (red line)
:uppereastside.jpg

Subscribers can click here for this chart.

Here is the same chart for the Upper West Side marketplace, where the trend of pending sales for both co-ops and condos were tighter.

For the market overall, we have seen a slight general tick down in new deals signed as should be expected before the holiday season kicks in. Deals are still happening, just at a slightly lower pace than 2-3 weeks ago. Click on the 'Sub-Market' tab of our Charts system to identify local neighborhood/price/bathroom trends in all of Manhattan.


November in the Books / Month in Review

Posted by urbandigs

Thu Dec 1st, 2011 09:31 AM

A: The data is in for how Manhattan RE performed in November. Here is your month in review.

Over the last 4 weeks:

PENDING SALES is UP 8.5%
ACTIVE INVENTORY is DOWN 4.3%
OFF-MARKET INVENTORY is DOWN 3%


Manhattan produced 792 New Deals Signed in November
Manhattan saw 1,045 New Listings come to market in November
Manhattan saw 439 Active Listings come OFF the market in November

When you add these figures up you see why the measure of Manhattan Inventory slid 4.3% over the course of the last 4 weeks - the math goes something like this:

1,045 New Listings - 792 Deals Signed - 439 Listings Removed = net loss 186 units

Now there are other reasons why supply may fall (i.e., broker fails to update listings for more than 30 days, active unit closes with no CSGN update from broker, etc.), but the main forces behind supply is the pace of new supply MINUS the pace of new demand MINUS the pace of listings removed from the active market. The UrbanDigs datapoints are constantly changing with new figures coming in the front end and updated figures going out the tail end - the end result is a constantly moving trend.

If the Manhattan market were to shift or experience a major change, our tools will pick them up and buyers/sellers can adjust strategies accordingly.

To put these #s into perspective, please consider the following charts:

nov_2011_csgn.jpg

These monthly bar charts are great to use for interpreting the current state of the Manhattan markets because it puts the most real time data into perspective in two ways:

a) Month-to-Month --> what is the current trend from last month or 2-3 months ago?

b) Year-over-Year --> how does the current month's production compare to the same period 1 year, 2 years and 3 years ago?

As you can see, in regards to new deal volume the Manhattan market bottomed out in September and has been ticking higher since. Year over year trends will tell us that these moves are seasonal and normal. If history is any guide, we should see declining new deal volume over the next 60 days until the markets typically ramp up again in February - brokers and clients should react accordingly.

Now lets check monthly pace of new supply for the market.

actv_nov_2011.jpg

This is now the 14th consecutive month that the 'year-over-year' pace of new supply has declined! In other words, we are simply not seeing the levels of new supply come to market that we saw in 2009 and 2010. This lack of new supply is keeping pressure on inventory levels and frustrating many buyers who expected more 'choices' of well priced, quality products in their targeted submarket. Subscribers can further break down the data to see how their local neighborhood and price point have been performing.

In terms of price action, I see today's market trading at slightly lower levels than deals signed earlier this year - when the pace of new demand was noticeably higher. I would put Manhattan median and Price Per Square Foot trends around the late 2005 to early 2006 levels, still down from 2007's peak. Inventory trends and the state of the current market should be used to tweak bidding and pricing strategies on both the buy and sell side. The market dictates value, not the brokers or sellers, so it's always a good idea to know where the market is trending.

UrbanDigs is now in full development of a suite of Comparable Sales Analysis tools that will further help you break down where any one subject property may trade in today's market. Stay tuned!