Memo to millennials in search of the American Dream: now is the time to take advantage of the extra $75 you've been saving a month using clever Mint strategies and start looking for a home to buy. According to the Miller Samuel/Douglas Elliman quarterly report, apartment resales—ie, excluding new construction—in Manhattan were down around 20 percent in the third quarter of this year, compared to the third quarter of last year.
There is also a larger pool of pads to choose from. The report found that more than 6,200 apartments are currently listed for sale, up 11 percent from the same time last year. Bargain hunters have numerous excellent new options to choose from and there's something for everyone. For the uptown guy or gal who spends more time in the bathroom than in bed, there's a four-bedroom, four-and-a-half bath with floor-to-ceiling windows available at the Mandarin Oriental for $24.5 million. For the bohemian set, there's a 5,000 square-foot four-bedroom, two-bath loft with a private keyed elevator on Jane Street for under $12 million. And for the rustic New Yorker, there's a cozy 3/3 condo in a "boutique" building on Irving Place with a "Great Room" featuring walnut paneling and a wood-burning stove—just $6.5 million.
Jonathan Miller, president of Miller Samuel, told Bloomberg News there’s still plenty of enthusiasm on the part of sellers to make deals, but not as much for buyers. “Buyers are more wary,” he said. “There isn't the same intensity of activity to burn through the new supply."
Last year in Q3, 31 percent of sales exceeded the original asking price; that figure fell by almost half to 17.4 percent.
"We're clearly seeing a slowdown," Miller told Bloomberg. "This era of aspirational pricing is coming to an end. Buyers get the message first."
Median resale prices increased 2.6 percent from Q3 last year, which Bloomberg noted is a small change compared to the price leaps seen in recent years.
The percentage of deals done in cash was down a bit, from 49 percent to 46 percent.
Scott Saunders, a broker with Rutenberg Realty who specializes in sales in Manhattan and Brooklyn, said he thinks a major factor in the weakening of the market is uncertainty over the outcome of the presidential election.
"My prediction is if it's Trump, the whole world's going to go in the shitter," he said. "This uncertainty that he may be one of the two is not a good thing for the market."
Terrible news, just terrible. Sad!
For renters, there's also been some slightly positive news in recent months. Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal reported that rents across New York City dropped 1 percent in the third quarter. For perspective, that would translate into monthly savings of nearly five dollars if you're renting a 40-square-foot Williamsburg crawl space with a dog bed for $450 a month.
Landlords have started offering teasers like a month or two of free rent to attract tenants, although if you're reading this, there's little chance you've had the opportunity to get in on this trend. (None of these studies look at deals done with a "broker" on Craigslist who has no last name or what people are paying to live in illegal SROs.)
The city's land barons can take heart, though, that the luxury market is still red-hot. ("Luxury" is defined as the top 10 percent of sales.) The Miller Samuel/Elliman report said that in Q3, sales prices in this part of the market hit record highs, with an average price tag of $8.8 million. A single square foot of sweet luxury apartment will run you $3,040.
The Miller/Elliman report covers the entire borough of Manhattan, with the exception of Marble Hill.
It excluded office sales as well as "separate maid's and storage rooms."