A: A quick check in on daily, weekly and 30-day pace of new deal volume, supply and off market changes in the Rebny Listing Service.
Here is a look at the ticker as of 11:02pm, Tuesday Feb 28th. On March 1st, the system will sanitize the data one last time and publish monthly stats for February - so Ill do a report then on how the last 30 days has performed.
Market is quite active as I can see 48 new deals signed today, 38 deals signed yesterday, and 261 new deals signed over the last 7-days. But the 30-day total is the most useful to track the current trend - and the ticker now shows 924 deals signed over the last thirty days. That is up sharply from a pace of low 600s for most of January.
Use the following table to interpret what that 30-day contracts signed total is telling us about current market conditions:
The hottest months of the year tend to see a pace of over 950 new deals signed, and the 4 hottest months for Manhattan are (in order) are May, June, April & March - so we are about to enter the most active period in the calendar year. Let's see if we can produce enough well priced supply to keep the high pace of new deals going.
The ticker will continue to show us whats happening daily in the field as it catches every REBNY mandated exclusive listing status update shared by the brokerage industry. As it stands now, we are on pace for the hottest February since 2008 when we saw 1,041 new deals signed.
A: Ever wonder which neighborhoods are seeing a stronger pipeline of contracts signed (a.k.a., "pending sales") today compared with a year ago? Lets do a quick 1 year chart check on the Manhattan submarkets that UrbanDigs tracks pending sales for below 96th Street.
Lets get right to it. Below are 1YR PENDING SALES trends for all Manhattan neighborhoods below 96th street and some thoughts on each. I added in some supply trend #s when I thought necessary - subscribers can do all these chart combinations in the CHARTS --> NEIGHBORHOOD tab and customize even further (by price range, bathroom, and property type) in the CHARTS --> SUBMARKET tab. Would love to hear your thoughts on what you see in the field and if it jives with what the real-time data is telling us.
Conclusions: Battery Park City has seen new deal volume slow considerably over the last 12 months, causing a decline in pending sales of 80% over this period. Supply in this nhood is also down 21% over the past year giving buyers fewer options to choose from in this 'love it or hate it' area of Manhattan. The Chelsea market saw a slowdown late last year, which is seasonal, and has since seen a steady tick up in new demand. Supply in Chelsea is down 13% over the last year but Pending sales has managed to rise 8% over that same time period - a strong market signal.
Conclusions: Supply for FiDi & Gramercy/Flatiron over the past year is down 11.7% and 17.8% respectively. However, as the chart shows above, pending sales for FiDi is up 60% over the last 12 months but only up 1% for Gramercy/Flatiron. A very strong signal for FiDi and a moderate signal for Chelsea given that both neighborhoods have seen a drop of 20%+ in supply since mid-October!
Conclusions: Supply is up 2.5% for the LES/Evill market over the last year but down 6.1% for the Murray Hill/Kips Bay submarket. The LES market peaked out in June of last year and has since seen a progressive decline in pending sales. There have been signs of life over the past month however, as the measure of real-time demand has risen 14.6% since January 29th. The Murray Hill market has seen sharper seasonal trends over the last year and has also seen a tick up over the last 4-5 weeks.
Conclusions: Midtown East is clearly outperforming its western counterpart with pending sales up 16.9% from this time last year. Midtown West/Clinton is relatively flat with demand up just under 2% over the last 12 months. Midtown West/Clinton saw a drop of 15.7% in inventory trends since this time last year while Midtown East only fell 6.7%. Moves in demand should be interpreted along with moves in supply. If supply falls noticeably, it will have a "muting" effect on interpretations of demand as buyers have less product to chase after. In other words, if supply falls 16% and demand rises 2%, that is a moderately "strong" signal as demand managed to continue to rise with 16% less product on the market.
Conclusions: Tribeca has seen a big rise in pending sales with the measure rising 76% from this time last year. Specifically, there were 64 deals "pending" in Tribeca this time last year whereas today there are 113 deals "pending" and awaiting closing. Remember that pending sales are listings that went from Active to Contract Signed and are awaiting closing - a measure of deal volume and local demand. The SoHo/NoHo/WVill market has seen a rise of 4% in pending sales over the last 12 months. As discussed in the prior conclusions for Midtown East & West, lets look at supply trends for more clues. Over the last 12 months Tribeca has seen supply rise 34.4% while SoHo/NoHo/Wvill market has seen inventory levels fall 15.5% over the same time period. Therefore, the rise in supply in Tribeca is "muting" the 76% surge in pending while the fall in supply in SoHo/NoHo/Wvill should make the 4% rise in pending look a bit "stronger". Always look at both supply and demand trends when trying to come up with interpretations.
UD Tip: Go to my discussion on "Interpreting the Trend: The Anatomy of a Chart" for an in depth look at how supply & demand trends should be analyzed.
Conclusions: Both the UES and the UWS are chugging along, relatively flat from this time last year. Supply for UES is down 4.2% from this time last year while supply for the UWS is up 3.1%. The last 8 weeks or so tells a more interesting story as:
UES - supply up 9.5%, pending up 0.7%
UWS - supply up 14.5%, pending up 10.2%
So the action is in the UWS market over the last few months as the UES has seen more supply without a subsequent move in pending yet.
Okay, I need to call it here. More updates to come!
A: What worries me about tight inventory is whether the market can sustain months of solid deal volume as a declining trend of monthly new supply continues. But as of now the market is very active even as Manhattan supply is 7.4% lower than this time last year. Lets show you the latest #s including 101 new deals signed in the last two days alone!
Here is a quick look at the Manhattan Market Ticker (real-time listing updates table for subscribers) showing you daily production across all REBNY member firms and their agents shared exclusive listings:
*last check on the ticker was Tuesday, February 7th
We can quickly see that:
BLACK BOX (shows new deal volume)
- 101 new deals were signed in the last two days
- Weekly pace is at 260, putting us on par with the strongest months of the year
- Monthly pace has risen from mid-high 600s to 824 over the last 10 days or so
This is the tool that will let you see, in real-time, market tick ups and downs. Its the quickest and easiest way to quantify current market direction.
RED BOX (shows new supply to hit the market)
- Weekly pace of 400 new units hitting the market
- Monthly pace of 1,557 new units hitting the market
NOTE ON 7-DAY & 30-DAY MOVING WINDOWS: At all times, fresh data is coming in the front end while stale/obsolete data is going out the tail end. The result is 7-day snapshot and 30-day snapshot of inventory trends that update 7x a day.
Focusing on supply for a moment, we can see 140+ new units to hit the market in the last few days, but we are still on a weekly and monthly pace to see around 1500-1600 new units come to market. For comparison, we can quickly go to the Monthly New Supply Bar Charts to see how past February's production levels have been - while the month to month trend is great information to know we should always compare the current month to the same period 1,2,3, and 4 years prior to filter out seasonality.
FEBRUARY NEW SUPPLY HISTORY (2008-present)
February 2008 --> 1,658 new units come to market
February 2009 --> 2,042 new units come to market
February 2010 --> 1,958 new units come to market
February 2011 --> 1,454 new units come to market
February 2012 --> on pace for 1,550 new units to come to market
So this may be the first month that we see a rise in new supply compared to the same month exactly 1 year prior! We have seen 16 consecutive months of year over year monthly declines in new supply -- in other words, over the last 16+ months we have simply not seen the level of new supply that we have seen in 2009 and 2010. This has led to relatively tight inventory levels across the Manhattan market today.
Buyers are chasing for well priced, desirable product that hits the market and the #s above in the market ticker are showing that.
Back to new deals signed for a moment, of the 101 deals signed in the last two days here is a quick breakdown of the types of apartments (price point) that are entering contract:
Wednesday, February 15th
Less Than $1M - 31 newly signed deals
$1M-$2M - 16 newly signed deals
$2M-$5M - 3 newly signed deals
More Than $5M - 3 new deals
Thursday, February 16th
Less Than $1M - 28 newly signed deals
$1M-$2M - 12 newly signed deals
$2M-$5M - 6 newly signed deals
More Than $5M - 2 new deals
So 86% of deals signed in the last few days had a last asking price under $2,000,000. This why the UrbanDigs Manhattan Pending Sales charts for the "Under $1M" and "$1M-$2M" are starting to see a rise while the same charts for the "$2M-$5M" and "$5M+" price points are still flat over the last few months. We are yet to really see the higher price points kick into high gear.
I can tell you that early to mid 2011 saw the $5M+ market go berserk, ultimately powering a very strong Q3-2011 report from the major brokerages at a lag. I can also tell you that the $2M-$5M price point saw a nice little rise from mid-October to mid-December of 2011; and has since been holding flat.
We won't know where deals signed this week and this month traded for until the transaction a) closes and b) is filed by the city register - likely in 3-5 months from now. That means these deals discussed today will most likely be included in the upcoming Q2-2012 Manhattan sales report that is released July 1st or 2nd.
To give you an idea of the where the Top 5 highest deals are happening, here they are in order of highest last asking price:
1. 190 Riverside Drive, Unit 11C
2. 60 Riverside Blvd, Unit PH3802
3. 60 Riverside Blvd, Unit PH3602
4. 120 East 87, Unit P26AB
5. 400 East 67, Unit 25C
I'll try to build a system that shows us these kinds of breakdowns of newly signed deals and where the action is when we go live with our new Manhattan comps system sometime in April. Cheers!
A: The last check was December 17th, 2011 and before that it was October 17th, 2011. Lets see which neighborhoods are leading the way this time.
Notable Neighborhood Moves since mid-November:
-- Tribeca saw demand surge from 13.6% to 43.2% over the last 3 months
-- East Harlem saw a slowdown in demand after a late 2011 rise
-- Midtown East sustained its recent rise of about 17% in demand
-- Gramercy/Flatiron market continued to slow down since early November with a 16.7% decline in pending sales over the last 3 months
Here are all the Manhattan neighborhood trends we track:
3-MONTH PENDING SALES TRENDS
Soho/Noho/West Village: +24.7%
Fidi/Civic Center: +18.8%
Midtown East: +18.7%
Chelsea/Midtown South: +10.6%
Midtown West/Clinton: +7.3%
East Harlem: +4.8%
LES/East Village/Union Square: +3.9%
Upper East Side: +3.3%
Upper West Side: +0.9%
Murray Hill/Kips Bay: -12.3%
Battery Park City: -13.3%
Inwood/Wash. Heights: -18.9%
Harlem/Morningside Heights: -23.9%
Harlem/Hamilton Heights: -28.2%
I'll continue to do these 3-MTH DEMAND checks every few months and mix in supply trends every once in a while. If there are other types of trends you would like to see, ask away in the comments section and Ill publish a link if our system has the functionality to meet your requests.
The market to me is actively picking up over the last 3 weeks. Weekly deal volume continues to be over 200, but the currently 30-day pace is still yet to break and hold the 700 level. When it comes to tracking the monthly pace of demand I often refer to the Real-time Listing Updates table (a.k.a market ticker, subscription required) to show us which way the market is ticking right now. Right now the 30-day pace of new deals signed is around 680 - up from high 500's in January but still below levels seen over the last two Februarys. Knowing where that 30-day deal volume number is and where its coming from tells us as accurately as possible how active the marketplace is right now - use this table for interpreting the 30-day pace of new deals signed:
Subscribers can also quickly check historical months of new deal volume by clicking on the "Broker Y-o-Y Updates" tab in our Charts section. Exciting new tools are on its way - hoping to go live by end of April...Cheers!
A: Manhattan is definitely seeing a pickup in activity as the weekly pace of new deal volume continues to rise. Since it takes a few weeks to go from "Offer Accepted" to "Contract Signed", many buyers out there may find themselves in 'wait & see' mode for desired properties to see if higher offers turn into 'done deals'. Typically, an accepted offer and their attorney have a good 5-7 business days to review all diligence documents and execute a contract; add in a few days for logistics to get the contracts fully executed. Only then will the broker change a listing to Contract Signed so that the UD ticker can track it. Lets take a quick look at that ticker that tallies up daily deal volume so we can see which way the market is trending right now.
The Real-Time Listing Updates table (a.k.a., the Manhattan Market Ticker) takes a direct RLS feed that shares every exclusive listing status update for all REBNY member firms. We engineered the tool to only capture new status changes for all exclusive listings in the Manhattan market. Here is the latest snapshot:
Focus on the CONTRACTS SIGNED row (blue rectangle) that shows us:
1) Daily # of New Deals Signed --> 41 (red box - still 1 more update to come)
2) Yesterday's # of New Deals Signed --> 41
3) 7-Day Moving Window of New Deals Signed --> 239
4) 30-Day Moving Window of New Deals Signed --> 685
So far we saw 41 new deals signed today -- and as part of my daily spot checking you can see a snapshot below of some of todays deals. It's empowering to so easily be able to accurately follow what kind of deals and how many are going to contract every day in the entire market. But the real bonus is that ensures that the UrbanDigs system is tracking the market accurately:
A few conclusions:
-- Daily deal volume has ticked up noticeably over the last few weeks
-- The 7-Day weekly # reflects this at 239 deals signed and puts us on pace to almost break the 1,000 monthly deals signed level.
-- The last 2 February's saw an average of 847 new deals signed
-- The current 30-Day pace is 685 new deals signed but the weekly pace suggests that this will tick up if daily/weekly volume sustains itself
-- February is the 5th Most Active month for new deals signed behind May, June, April & March (last 4 years)
For a visual, here is a broad 3-Month chart showing Manhattan Active Supply (green line) vs Pending Sales (red line):
As the market ticker sees the 30-Day Contracts Signed # rise into the 700s and 800s and higher, the UrbanDigs pending sales measure should follow suit. Buyers and sellers in the field should be experiencing what the ticker is telling us because that ticker IS the market.
I've had a few clients already see desired properties go to higher bidders. Since there is a lag between offer accepted and contract execution for the buyer's attorney to conduct due diligence, backup offers are left wondering where that higher offer may be relative to their own bid? Is it 3% higher? 5% higher?
Buyers that are lower down on the offer todem pole have a painful 3-5 month wait for price discovery on the 'lost' deal should it ultimately go to contract; to get that confirmation on what bid the Manhattan market was able to produce for their top pick. Usually buyers won't wait that long if another desired property pops onto the market. That is why well priced, quality Manhattan property (especially those apartments in great locations w/ low CCs) will see multiple offers when we are in our most active months of the year. Put a motivated buyer through 1 or 2 lost deals, and they tend to act more aggressively when that 3rd one comes to market. A herd like mentality can take hold real quick in a market like this, especially when supply has been tightening over the last 15 months or so.
Buyers should tweak their aggressiveness a notch or two for highly desired property if the 30-day pace of new deals signed continues to rise, as I expect it will over the next few months. Sellers can certainly test the market as general market activity rises, but be careful not to overdo it or ignore strong offers that may not be near inflated asking prices! The best offers come in the first few weeks of the listing, but sometimes the seller is simply not ready to hit that bid. Motivated sellers should use the active season to price right and try to create a sense of urgency where multiple offers will come in within the first few weeks. Thats the way to maximize profit potential and now we have the tools to tell you when the market is picking up - which it is.
Overprice too much and you may miss the active season and be left with a 4-month old stale listing with multiple price cuts right as we get into the slower summer months. Its all a matter of price and the sellers need to sell! In the end the market will dictate value, not the broker or the seller!
A: Bill over at Calculated Risk is a must read for anyone addicted to the financial/connected blogosphere. This comes about a week after Barry Ritholtz discussed his latest thoughts on housing. And now we got Manhattan appraisal giant Jonathan Miller's take on Bill's 'housing bottom' call yesterday. Lots of mixed views here so lets discuss some broader housing trends today and take a break from micro-analyzing Manhattan; a market that has been in a world of its own over the last three years.
Lets go in time order here...first Ritholtz discussed housing with Blodget on Yahoo Finance's Daily Ticker as the "housing bottom" bandwagon starts to grow:
Barry Ritholtz of The Big Picture:
"No evidence of a bottom, prices continue to fall, volumes are anemic..despite record low interest rates...the data is pretty explicit, year over year prices are lower and we are just about back to fair value if u look at things like median income or % of GDP, but if this is the bottom than this would be the first time that a major boom & bust hasn't careened past fair value into deeply oversold conditions..you don't just mean revert back to fair value."Then we saw Bill from Calculated Risk make his call yesterday with the following important notes to consider.
Bill McBride of CR:
There have been some recent articles arguing the "housing bottom is nowhere in sight". That isn't my view.Finally, we got Jonathan Miller with his reaction to Bill's call.
First there are two bottoms for housing. The first is for new home sales, housing starts and residential investment. The second bottom is for prices. Sometimes these bottoms can happen years apart.
For the economy and jobs, the bottom for housing starts and new home sales is more important than the bottom for prices. However individual homeowners and potential home buyers are naturally more interested in prices. So when we discuss a "bottom" for housing, we need to be clear on what we mean. For new home sales and housing starts, it appears the bottom is in, and I expect an increase in both starts and sales in 2012.
And it now appears we can look for the bottom in prices. My guess is that nominal house prices, using the national repeat sales indexes and not seasonally adjusted, will bottom in March 2012.
There are several reasons I think that house prices are close to a bottom. First prices are close to normal looking at the price-to-rent ratio and real prices . Second the large decline in listed inventory means less downward pressure on house prices, and third, I think that several policy initiatives will lessen the pressure from distressed sales.
And this doesn't mean prices will increase significantly any time soon. Usually towards the end of a housing bust, nominal prices mostly move sideways for a few years, and real prices (adjusted for inflation) could even decline for another 2 or 3 years.
Jonathan Miller of Matrix:
To be clear, Bill's forecast is based on prices of the key housing indices i.e. Case Shiller and CoreLogic without seasonal or inflation adjustments. He is very clear about the definition of a housing bottom which is key to the argument - in fact, there are two housing bottoms.All great stuff. My gut is to talk about one psychological element that is not so easy to track but that we all know means everything when it comes to housing: BUYER CONFIDENCE!
He provides a logical argument but I think he's missing a key ingredient in the logic - how will the market be impacted by distressed properties and how they will impact the price trend:
-- 2M additional foreclosures in 2012-2013 per RealtyTrac
-- Falling inventory is masking significant shadow inventory built-up during the credit crunch. Inventory is declining to more manageable levels, not because there are fewer homes to sell, but because sellers are holding back until conditions improve - big difference.
In other words, the call of a bottom is missing a huge element front the equation - supply. The forecast of a housing bottom could certainly be right in the short term, and housing prices could bottom in March temporarily, but there is a lot of excess supply to be dealt with and I suspect that prices will begin to slide as REO activity begins to slowly enter the market. It simply has to - there is too much of it.
Lets face it, not even record low mortgage rates of 3.87% & a 20% rise in equities over the last six months can stimulate buyers to rush into new home purchases!! What does that tell you?
It tells me that record low rates, engineered by our Fed to combat extreme debt deflationary forces, are indicative of broader economic conditions that are still strongly tilted to the negative. Lets face it:
a) Consumers don't look at housing as an asset class the same. The damage was done from the bust cycle and it will take years before faith in housing on a mass level returns to the marketplace. I'm not talking Manhattan here, think nationwide markets.
b) Consumer are already debt-laden and continuing to deleverage and repair their own balance sheets. Put simply, the consumer is in repair mode and not in a "leverage to the hilt" mode. Some may want to, but banks won't let you..which brings us to....
c) Banks don't want to lend to a consumer with deteriorating credit in a high unemployment environment when they are still recapitalizing themselves! Why do you think Excess Reserves of Depository Institutions are in excess of $1.5 Trillion right now? Banks aren't lending they are hoarding cash and riding the fed engineered reflationary wave to slowly recapitalize so that one day they will be able to sustainably lend -- hopefully that day will be when consumer credit quality is on the rise and our economy is sustainably producing more than 250K jobs a month. A much better environment for our fractional reserve banking system to start behaving like its meant to. In the meantime, the M1 Money Multiplier is still way down. Banks exist to create credit and multiply deposits - $10,000 of deposited money is meant to be multiplied by the banks to a $100,000 of new credit - this process is stalled because banks are not lending and money is not circulating!
You can't force borrowers to borrow and you cant force banks to lend! The Fed can flood the system with liquidity but they can't control where that money ends up! Crazy market moves will happen when you force investors to take on risk and chase higher yields - hence the term "unintended consequences".
Right now, Greece's bond markets are screeching default with 1YR yields soaring to over 528%! 528%!!! Can you even imagine? Something is going to happen there and all the EU bigs are praying that this will be a non-event from being strung along for so many years; wall street reacts much worse to surprise events, not something that has been in the headlines for years and everybody preparing for the inevitable. Its inevitable that Greek defaults - the question is what kind of structure the default will take and if it triggers a credit event on CDS. The worry is a contagion across EU, hitting Portugal, Spain, and Italy next.
We will see no sustained uptrend in broader housing conditions if we have another round of equity weakness ahead of us as EU conditions play out. The current environment is still too uncertain that not even a 20% rise in equity indexes over the last 6 months PLUS record low mortgage rates of 3.87% can stimulate new loan demand. 10YR Treasury yields are still below 2%, confirming this uncertainty. Low rates are great, but they are low for a reason. The housing market boomed with rates way way higher than they are today so we should actually look forward to the day that rates rise because that likely means the foundation for a sustainable economic recovery may be in place.
I'll take 5.5% mortgage rates and an improving a) economy, b) consumer balance sheet, c) bank lending over 3.87% rates and uncertainty that we see right now any day of the week and twice on Sunday! The bottom may be in but a true reversal in real prices I think is still a few years away.
A: With January in the books lets take a quick peek at how the month ended. Also, I am definitely seeing an 'uptick' in the ticker (Real-Time Listing Updates table for subscribers) as the last week or so has seen an average of 25-30 new deals signed a day - up from say 15-20 new deals signed a day. Although 1 week is not enough time to call a new trend, its the latest information we have on in the field production for the Manhattan marketplace. It looks like our active season is finally starting to kick into a higher gear.
First some charts.
MONTHLY CONTRACT SIGNED TOTALS FOR MANHATTAN
Our system shows that Manhattan REBNY brokers put 615 new deals into contract in January, 2012. This production level is:
-- down 5% from January 2011
-- down 12% from December 2011
Right now the 30-day pace of NEW DEALS SIGNED is in the mid 600s, up from mid/high 500s for much of January; this is what tells me the market is starting to pick up as the real-time ticker captures REBNY brokers updating ACTV listings to a CONTRACT SIGNED (CSGN) state. By looking at the monthly bar chart above you can see that the last two February's saw deal volume in the mid-800's - so we still have some more work to do to get us on par with those past levels. Lets move on to supply trends.
MONTHLY NEW ACTIVE LISTING TOTALS FOR MANHATTAN
Our system shows that Manhattan REBNY brokers added 1,539 new listings to the marketplace in January, 2012. This production level is:
-- down 8.8% from January of 2011
-- up 139% from December of 2011
This is why you should always compare a month's production to the exact same period in prior years - one may look at a month to month rise of 139% in new supply in an otherwise tight market as a big positive! However, that interpretation is misleading because historically December is the weakest month for new supply while January is one of the strongest months for new supply.
As discussed yesterday:
JANUARY NEW LISTING SUPPLY HISTORYOne can easily see by this data visual that the pace of supply over the last 4 years has sustainably declined! This trend has been the norm for about a year and a half now. This is the now the 16th consecutive month of year over year declines in new supply to hit the marketplace -- in other words, we are simply not seeing the levels of new supply come to market that we saw in 2009 and 2010!
January 2008 --> 1,918 new listings hit the market
January 2009 --> 2,031 new listings hit the market
January 2010 --> 1,829 new listings hit the market
January 2011 --> 1,688 new listings hit the market
January 2012 --> 1,539 new listings hit the market
This is one major reason why inventory remains tight, buyers are seeing frustration with the lack of quality/well priced products and sellers are trying to take advantage of these conditions by testing the marketplace with slightly higher asking prices. We will start to track listing price trends in a month or two but I can tell you from what I see so far that the trend is up slightly! This tells me sellers are a bit more euphoric in their ability to procure strong bids in today's marketplace. Buyers are adapting and from the last week or so, seem to be signing deals anyway. We will have to wait 3-5 months for these deals to close and get filed with ACRIS before learning price discovery and where those bids are coming in!
Ill keep my eyes on the data in the meantime!