Manhattan Q1 Report: A Story To Tell
A: As you browse all the Big Brokerage reports you will see that there is a story to tell about what this market experienced. Although the brokerage reports have variations in how they report on the first quarter of 2010, there are similarities that I would like to point out. The bigger picture on recent market activity is clear in my mind and confirms what has been discussed on UrbanDigs for the past few months.
As discussed earlier in the month, I estimated 2,400 - 2,600 sales for the first quarter of 2010 reflecting the sustained rise in sales activity since early 2009. According to Bloomberg's, "Manhattan Apartment Sales Jump, Buyers Seek Bargains":
The number of sales soared to 2,384 from 1,195 a year earlier, New York appraiser Miller Samuel Inc. and broker Prudential Douglas Elliman Real Estate said today.So readers should have been prepared for the headline of surging sales in Manhattan that is reflective of the past 2-5 months of market activity!
To make things easier for you guys, I made the following table that clearly shows the quarter-to-quarter and the year-over-year movement in Market Wide Average/Median Sales Prices from the Big 3 firms and Streeteasy.com:
Hopefully this confirms for you why I described the relative quarter to quarter improvements in past months; as I saw the bids improve. Brokers with experience and a stable business in the field everyday can easily see the uptick in sales from the depressed levels of 2009. What was more difficult to get a sense of was what everyone wants to know about: PRICE ACTION! What is going on with prices!
That to me is the ongoing challenge. I should reiterate that lagging quarterly reports that show price action really capture a deal that was signed into contract some 2-6 months earlier! To me, the best snapshot of where bids are and where this market is trading today is at the moment the contract is signed - so it will always be a challenge to close this gap before the report captures the sale and analyzes the market as a whole. For a good discussion on understanding this lag and how the quarterly reports work, please read "Understanding The Lag w/ Quarterly Reports".
By sifting through all the Big Brokerages' quarterly reports, I am seeing a clear trend that:
Therefore, as I said in previous discussions, "What I am unsure of is which quarterly report will ultimately show the improvement in price action from the extreme trades at the height of fear in early 2009". I think I am now getting more confident that the extremes of price action this market saw were spread out due to the natural lag and ultimately reflected across Q2 & Q3 reports of 2009.
Therefore, I would expect one of the next two quarterly reports to show the y-o-y progressive improvement in price action this market has seen since early 2009; again, captured and reported to you guys at a big time lag. These reports will be released July 2nd + October 2nd respectively; and I look forward to confirmation of the real time reports I have been discussing here for the past 4-5 months as I saw the changes occur.
Moving on from here, I see difficulty in sustaining the pace of rebound from one year ago and would expect the market to remain flat even as future reports start to reflect the improvement in price action I discussed. If something changes, I'll report on it. If you want to keep it real and timely, keep it here!