Watch Contract Activity to see if this active season is panning out

Noah Rosenblatt

Talking Manhattan on UrbanDigs.com

We get our next update in 4 days, lets see how February 2020 did compared to:

750 deals in Feb 2019
778 deals in Feb 2018
1,004 deals in Feb 2017

Im going with the OVER for last year..you?
 

David Goldsmith

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There were a number of years where seasonality flipped from being "March, April, May and then after Labor Day through Mid-November" to "Bonus Season - Huge bump at beginning of year and then trailing off."

Looking at Fritz Frigan's excellent Open House Traffic Report it is possible that is happening this year, but it's too early to call so far.
 

David Goldsmith

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I will also be very curious to see what happens to all the contracts out but not fully executed right now due to a 1,900 point 2 day Dow correction and heightened pandemic fears.
 

Noah Rosenblatt

Talking Manhattan on UrbanDigs.com
well, lets see how long it lasts. If we bounce back in a week, all will be forgotten. If this turns into a multi month/year downturn where stocks just cant rise anymore - you know, the opposite of the last 10 years? Theeeeen diff story
 

Noah Rosenblatt

Talking Manhattan on UrbanDigs.com
There were a number of years where seasonality flipped from being "March, April, May and then after Labor Day through Mid-November" to "Bonus Season - Huge bump at beginning of year and then trailing off."

Looking at Fritz Frigan's excellent Open House Traffic Report it is possible that is happening this year, but it's too early to call so far.
Im hearing the market is active out there from many colleagues. I expect Feb #s in the 800s based on 30 day search of in contracts
 

David Goldsmith

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January contract activity was up 11.4% Year-on-Year from 2019 to 741. To keep pace with that we need to see 835 which certainly seems feasible. But that doesn't dig us out of the hole when 1,579 new units came on the market in January - that is to say as long as new supply is more than double the number of deals being inked we will still see negative pressure on the market (and that doesn't include the 6,000 units of new construction shadow inventory or the record number of "Off Market" units currently at 4,653 each of which represents a failed attempt at a sale). Note that even 2017, which was a "bad year," the number was over 1,000.
 

David Goldsmith

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I apologise at all the numbers here are for Manhattan only and the market is bigger than just that. Please don't feel if you're not in Manhattan that your input isn't welcome here.
 

David Goldsmith

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Looks like the number of contracts signed in February in Manhattan came in at 841. This is a 12.1% increase YOY, but it's still 16.2% lower than 2017 which was well into the market slowdown. At the same time there were 1,443 new listings (who knows how many there really are if you include all the New Development shadow inventory) but if there is 73% more new inventory than contracts signed, how does that relieve downward pressure on the market?
 

David Goldsmith

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Luxury contracts fall 90% in 2 weeks! Only 2 luxury contracts signed last week, down from 14 the week before and 21 the week before that.


"The last time this report recorded only 2 contracts signed in a single week was the week of August 17-23, 2009.

Stat Geek Alert: Was there ever a time when we saw 0 contracts signed in a single week? Yes! December 21-27, 2009."
 

David Goldsmith

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Today's contract signed activity numbers for March:
Market Wide: -25.1% from prior month, -32.1% from prior year

Existing Resale: -24% from prior month, -26.2% from prior year

New Developments: -35.3% from prior month, -63.1% from prior year
 

David Goldsmith

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For the second week in a row the Olshan Luxury report shows only 2 contracts signed:


And then there were 2—again.
Meaning for the 2nd week in a row, only 2 contracts were signed in Manhattan at $4 million and above. We’ll take it, considering that the New York State shelter-in-place order kept the public in their homes, and on top of that, the stock market suffered its worst first quarter ever.
The top 2 deals were sky-high condos far removed from the pandemic madness on the ground.
The No. 1 contract was PH57 at 56 Leonard Street, asking $24.5 million, reduced from $29.5 million. It was the last sponsor apartment to sell in the building. Kudos to broker Elizabeth Unger of Corcoran Sunshine, who has been the sponsor’s agent since the building started marketing off of floorplans in 2013. I emailed Ms. Unger for details about how the deal got done, and she replied that due to the confidential nature of the negotiations, she could not provide such details, though she did note: “It was purchased by a local family in need of a large residence who fell in love with the building and the views.”
PH57 has 5,252 square feet including 4 bedrooms, 4.5 bathrooms, a fireplace, plus 2 terraces and a balcony that total 1,763 square feet. The unit has 14-foot-high ceilings and breathtaking city and Hudson River views. 56 Leonard is a 60-story, 145-unit condo designed like a glass obelisk by Pritzker Prize-winning architects Herzog & de Meuron. It has 17,000 square feet of amenities including a 75-foot pool, indoor/outdoor theaters, landscaped sundeck, fitness center, sauna, lounge, and a children’s playroom.
The No. 2 contract was 76B at 146 West 57th Street, asking $4.5 million, raised from $4.35 million when it was listed in July 2018 just as the unit was starting to undergo a gut renovation. The listing broker, Alexander Glibbery of Compass, described the deal as the hardest to negotiate in his 10-year career. The unit, in Metropolitan Tower condominium, has 1,463 square feet with breathtaking Central Park views from the living room and its 2 bedrooms. It has 2.5 bathrooms, and is one floor below the penthouse. Amenities include a concierge, fitness center, pool, roof deck and private restaurant.

In 2011, the owner, who lives in Europe, bought a combined unit comprised of 76A and 76B for a total of $7,775,000. He then divided the apartment and rented the units. In 2018, 76A and 76B were gut renovated and individually marketed for sale. 76A, which has 2,100 square feet, sold first for $5.4 million in April 2019 ($2,571/sq.ft.).
In January, the buyer, who was from Tokyo and represented by Andy Kim of Nestseekers, saw 76B twice. As March descended under the cloud of the pandemic, several parties came forward and made low offers in an effort to score a Covid-19 discount. The bidding drove the price up, but the contract took 2 weeks to sign, and over that period the price was renegotiated for $50K less. In the end, a contract was signed for $4.3 million --all cash –translating to $2,939/sq.ft., the highest $/sq.ft price recorded in almost a decade in the building.
Alexander Glibbery then reached out to the condo board, and got it to agree to allow the buyer to submit an abbreviated condo board application. Glibbery reported that he is searching virtually for another unit for the owner, who is attempting to roll the profit into another investment property in a 1031 tax free exchange.
Stay safe everyone!
 

David Goldsmith

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Third week in a row for only 2 luxury contracts.


And then there were 2. Once again.

Two contracts were signed last week at $4 million and above in Manhattan. This is the third week in a row that only 2 contracts were signed. Since New York State hit the shelter-in-place button on March 22, the luxury market has gone into hibernation.

The No. 1 contract was 15C at 108 Leonard Street, a penthouse apartment asking $11.5 million, which started on the market in July 2018. It is in a 167-unit condo, created by the developer Elad, out of a former landmark court building with a clock tower. A 20,000-square-foot amenity space includes a fitness center, 75-foot pool, children’s playroom, and a rooftop terrace.

15C has 3,683 square feet including 4 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms, and 2 terraces that total 1,509 square feet and feature 2 outdoor fireplaces. It has panoramic north and south city views and 10-foot high ceilings, plus 2 fireplaces in the great room and master suite. The listing broker was Elena Sarkissian of Douglas Elliman, and the buyer’s broker was Bruce Ehrmann of the Anderson-Ehrmann team---also at Douglas Elliman.

Mr. Ehrmann described the deal as one of the most arduous of his 25-year-career. The buyers lived in the suburbs, and wanted to be close to their grown children, who are New York City residents. Their search started with rentals and then shifted to sales. In the summer of 2019, they saw smaller units at 108 Leonard Street, and brought their award-winning architect, Lee Skolnick, who designed their house on the East End of Long Island. Later, without the clients in tow, Ehrmann gave Skolnick a tour of other units in the building and one caught his eye: 15C. Skolnick saw the raw space’s potential and created a floorplan, which helped convince his clients that the unit was unique and more suitable for the long term. Months went by, and the clients did not return to the building until February, when they came twice to see 15C. The unit was still unfinished.

At the end of February, Ehrmann presented an all-cash offer that was accepted by the developer. A day later, he was informed that a different buyer made a higher offer, but he convinced his clients to pay more. Over the next 5 weeks, Ehrmann said he devoted many long hours to negotiating contract points and terms. Some involved floorplan changes that the sponsor refused to make. In the end, it was agreed that the apartment would be delivered finished based on the original floorplan. The deal included a parking spot (there are 26 spots in the building), and the developer agreed to pay some of the closing costs.

On April 2, as pandemic panic deepened and deal fatigue set in, Ehrmann wrangled a price concession from the developer. The contract was signed on April 7, but he would not reveal the price. I asked architect Lee Skolnick why the buyers hung in, and he said that the property “checked all the boxes in a way that nothing else did.”



The No. 2 contract was a townhouse at 243 East 7th Street, asking $4.995 million, reduced from $6.75 million when it was listed in February 2018. It was purchased for $2.9 million in 2014 by a French investor who rented out the house. This 24.5-foot-wide, 4-story house has 3,325 square feet including 4 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, and 3 fireplaces. It can be expanded to 9,524 square feet, which attracted the interest of several developers. Patrick Lilly of Core represented both the seller and buyer. He said that the property was under contract to a developer in 2019 in the high $5 million range. The buyer defaulted, but was able to get the deposit returned.

The house went back on the market in January for $4.995 million, and Mr. Lilly reached out to another developer who had previously bid. A deal was struck within 5% of the price, and was not contingent on financing. It took 4 weeks for the contract to get signed, as the parties navigated through twists and turns, including the seller changing attorneys midstream. In the end, the buyer renegotiated an even lower price, which Mr. Lilly would not reveal. He said that the closing would be determined when the rental tenant can find another residence and moves out.

Stay Safe Everyone!!!
 

David Goldsmith

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Five Brooklyn luxury homes sold in height of pandemic
Market still quiet, but contract signings rose from previous week

Activity continues to be slow in Brooklyn’s luxury residential market during the coronavirus pandemic, but did tick up slightly last week.
The borough saw five luxury contracts signed — three townhouses and two condominiums — according to the latest report from Compass. The report looks at homes in the borough asking $2 million or more based on the last publicly available asking prices.
The week before, Brooklyn’s luxury market saw just two contracts signed for about $11.2 million.
Last week’s most expensive deal was for a townhouse at 199 St. John’s Place in Park Slope, which was seeking $3.5 million. The property spent 80 days on the market and had cut its asking price by 5 percent in early March.
The presumed second-priciest deal last week was for a townhouse at 188 Adelphi Street in Fort Greene, which was asking just under $2.6 million. The property spans roughly 2,800 square feet and went into contract after 26 days on the market.
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The average asking price of the five homes was about $2.6 million, and the total volume was about $13.2 million. The properties spent an average of 42 days on the market and had seen their asking prices reduced by an average of 1 percent.
The Brooklyn luxury market’s other deals last week were for a $2.5 million condo at 108 India Street in Greenpoint, a roughly $2.4 million townhouse at 598 17th Street in Windsor Terrace and a condo at 653 Bergen Street in Prospect Heights seeking nearly $2.3 million.
 

David Goldsmith

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4th week in a row Olshan Report notches 2 luxury sales.


Report on Contracts Signed
Manhattan Residential Properties
$4 Million and Above
April 13-19, 2020
2 Contracts Signed

And then there were 2---again, and again, and again, and again.
That’s right, a total of 2 contacts were signed at $4 million and above for the 4th week in a row. Since we started publishing this report in 2010, we have never seen the exact same total of contracts signed 4 weeks in a row.
Stat Geek Alert: In the last 4 weeks, 8 contracts have totaled $71,220,000 in volume compared to 84 contracts and $675,541,500 in volume in the same 4-week period last year.
Such a disparity in stats is a reflection of Life in the Time of the Coronavirus.
The No. 1 contract was Apartment 5C at 301 East 80th Street, asking $4,975,000, reduced from $5,525,000 when this new building, called the Beckford Tower, opened sales last summer. 5C is a corner unit with 2,424 square feet including 3 bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms. Amenities include a concierge, fitness center, a 65-foot lap pool, a spa pool, half-court basketball, a children’s playroom, a lounge, and game room.
Kudos to onsite listing broker Barbara Russo of Douglas Elliman and to the buyers’ broker, Judith Gillis of Brown, Harris Stevens. Ms. Gillis reported that the buyers were longstanding clients who live in Brazil. They own a Tribeca condo loft in a building with no amenities that they purchased 10 years ago when the wife wanted to live downtown. But the husband always wanted to live uptown, and so in January, they flew to New York to start looking. According to Ms. Gillis, “The wife loved the building right away. It was their style. It had everything they wanted: location, the building, and the amenities.”
An offer was accepted on February 29 for the asking price. Contract negotiations stalled as the pandemic deepened. Negotiations got restarted after the sponsor agreed to give some concessions, which Ms. Gillis would not discuss. The contract was signed on April 15.
The No. 2 contract was the Penthouse at 112 Franklin Street, asking $4,250,000 when it was listed on February 12. The unit is a 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom co-op loft with a fireplace in the living room and a landscaped roof terrace that has the potential to be built on. Both the buyer and seller were represented by Wendy Maitland of Atelier WM.
Ms. Maitland said that the seller contemplated listing the apartment at $4.6 million, but she counseled the seller to price the unit on “the low end of the range” to drive activity. The strategy resulted in 40 showings and 4 offers. The buyer came to the first of 2 open houses.
An offer was accepted on February 24, and 2 home inspections followed--one for the interior and one for the roof. From March 2-12, the stock market fell 5,503 points, and the buyer, who is a partner in a financial firm, faced capital calls. On March 12, he decided to step away from the deal to assess his situation. The next day, Ms. Maitland accepted an offer from a backup buyer who ordered house inspections. By the end of March, the second buyer, who was stuck out of the country, decided to renegotiate the price, and the deal cratered again. All along, Ms. Maitland kept the dialogue going with the original buyer, and by April 1, he was back in the deal. This time, Ms. Maitland said, “some concessions were negotiated,” and the price was less than 5% off the asking price. The contract is contingent on financing.
Ms. Maitland described the Penthouse as “unique,” and on one of the best blocks in Tribeca. Its renovation had been completed at the end of 2006, but it remained in excellent shape. Ms. Maitland said, “You don’t get this quality of renovation in new development… There’s nothing cookie cutter about it.”

Stay Safe!!!!
 

David Goldsmith

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Brooklyn’s luxury resi market sees contract volume fall
Two contracts were signed last week for homes listed above $2M, down from 5 the week before

Brooklyn’s luxury residential market has yet to show signs of picking back up, with contract volume low and getting lower.

The borough saw two luxury contracts signed last week, both condos, according to the latest report from Compass. The report looks at homes in the borough asking $2 million or more based on the last publicly available asking prices.

The priciest deal was for a condo at 1 Clinton Street in Brooklyn Heights, which asked $2.4 million. The two-bedroom property spans 1,456 square feet and spent 85 days on the market.

The only other deal last week was for a condo at 229 Sackett Street in Carroll Gardens, which had been asking $2.2 million. The three-bedroom property spans 1,291 square feet and went into contract after 51 days on the market.

The average asking price of the contracts last week was about $2.3 million, and the total volume was about $4.6 million. The properties spent an average of 68 days on the market and their asking prices had not decreased. The week before, Brooklyn’s luxury market saw five contracts signed for about $13.2 million.
 

David Goldsmith

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Thinking of buying or selling a home? There’s a dark cloud looming over the spring real-estate market
By Lisa Iannucci
Published: Apr 25, 2020 10:13 am
Not everyone is pessimistic. ‘I have been planning to move to Sarasota, Florida for more than a year. Why would I let this stop me?’ says one homeowner.

To the growing list of disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic, add this one: the housing market. If you’re trying to sell a home or buy one or just think you might list your residence at some point, you’ll need to rethink things.

John Quinn, broker/owner of Quinn Realty Group in Highland, N.Y., had been excited about prospects for the spring real-estate market when the year began. His optimism has faded.

“I was selling to follow a dream of getting a camper van and traveling, but I’m waffling,”
Brenda Lange, homeowner, Philadelphia
“Buyers aren’t dropping out of deals, but they are putting them on hold, at least temporarily,” said Quinn. “If they hadn’t gone into contract yet, they decided to hold off. And those who are in contract are asking for new terms. This pandemic has created a whole new wrench in the marketplace.”

That’s an understatement.

The slide in home buyer interest
In an April 5-6, 2020 survey by the National Association of Realtors, 90% of members said buyer interest has declined since the coronavirus outbreak. Also, 59% said buyers are delaying home purchases for a couple of months and 57% said sellers are delaying home sales for a couple of months.

Homes that are on the market are often just sitting there. According to Zillow, Z+6.17% the inventory of listed homes is up about 2.5% overall since March 1. And, according to The Wall Street Journal, the number of new listings on Zillow since March 1 has plunged in COVID-19 hot spots like Detroit (62%) and New York City (49%).

Under the circumstances, Philadelphia’s Brenda Lange, 60, is struggling with what to do about putting her home on the market.

“I was selling to follow a dream of getting a camper van and traveling, but I’m waffling,” said Lange, who owns a 100-year-old, two-bedroom house. “I’m probably going to stay put for a few more months. My agent told me that when this passes, there is going to be a surge of homebuying. Especially if the interest rate stays so low.”

Waffling about whether to put out a ‘for sale’ sign
I’m in a similar situation. I’m 54, my three children have flown the coop and I’ve downsized about 20 years’ worth of stuff in my two-family Hudson Valley, N.Y. home. Like Lange, I was also just about to put that “For Sale” sign on the front lawn when the pandemic basically stopped the world.

I need to find a buyer because I need the financial cushion. But like Lange, I’m waffling.

For sellers, the short-term outlook isn’t good.

“Home sales will decline this spring because of unique economic and social consequences resulting from the coronavirus outbreak,” said National Association of Realtors Chief Economist Lawrence Yun.

Some prospective sellers — especially those nearing or in retirement — are hopeful they can finalize their relocation plans, despite the pandemic.

“I have been planning to move to Sarasota, Florida for more than a year,” said Sandra Gurvis, 69, who’s eager to sell her two-bedroom, two-bath Columbus, Ohio condo. “Why would I let this stop me?”

But Jeff Tucker, an economist with Zillow, says many buyers and sellers will just wait to see how this all plays out.

“As a seller now, the downside is that you’ll probably see fewer buyers. But you’ll have less competition from other sellers,” he said. “Zillow had a 20% drop in people looking at listings in March.”

Tucker was surprised that the buyer falloff wasn’t larger. “There are still those who are looking for deals,” he noted.

His advice for sellers: “If you don’t get any buyers, you can always try again later. But there might be a wave of listings this fall, and you’ll suddenly have a lot of competition.”

The outlook for home prices
And as for home prices…

Some 63% of National Association of Realtors members surveyed said buyers are expecting a decline in home prices because they sense less competition.

“I expect to see at least a temporary dip in sale prices during the pandemic,” said Tucker.

If you just have to sell your home, you’ll need to make technology your friend.

“The number of sellers who are posting 3-D tours of their home [online] has tripled,” said Tucker. Redfin reported a 494% increase in requests for agent-led video home tours as of March 20.

Once prospects show an interest due to their virtual walk-throughs, real-estate agents can then arrange for individualized in-person versions. For now, Open Houses with a flock of potential buyers arriving simultaneously are pretty much out.

Going virtual for home inspections and closings
Other parts of the homebuying and home-selling process need to be done virtually, too.

“The regulatory part of selling a home has seen some loosening of the restrictions,” Tucker noted. “We’ve heard of inspectors checking out a house for a buyer via a video tour, through FaceTime or Skype.”

Paperwork for closings and mortgages are being handled through mail or email rather than face-to-face meetings.

Sherry Paprocki and her husband, Ray, both 61, are resorting to using the U.S. Postal Service to finish up selling their 1,200-square foot condo in downtown Columbus, Ohio. They got a pre-pandemic offer from a buyer who saw the place in 2019 before the couple took it off the market.

Once the sale is complete, the Paprockis hope to become buyers.

“We’ve lived in a high-rise condo for five years and now know that we’d like to be away from the city center and have a yard of our own again,” said Sherry. “However, the virus situation made us completely rethink where our temporary quarters would be while we decide on the next home.”

As for me, I’ve decided to move forward and try to sell my home. I’m nervous, but hopeful.

Quinn’s hopeful too, as real-estate brokers typically are.

“I do think the market will be super strong once we come out of the other side of this, especially with the interest rates so low. And there are some buyers who are motivated now,” he said. “They might have accepted a job in the seller’s area or retired and are moving.”

We’ll see.
 
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