“Buyer, Beware” Has Become “Buyer, Be Aggressive”


Manhattan Chill
March 30, 2018

The advice for New York City co-op and condo shoppers has traditionally been “Buyer, beware.” Thanks to recent trends, it’s becoming “Buyer, be aggressive.” 

Sales of Manhattan apartments during the first quarter of the year hit their slowest pace since the nadir of the Great Recession, according to an analysis by the Wall Street Journal. Brokers said sales were dampened by a slowdown in closings in new luxury buildings, as well as a rebellion by condo buyers against high asking prices.

“I think prices have gone up too far, and there is straight-up buyer resistance,” says Donna Olshan, a broker who tracks contracts signed in the luxury market. “It has slowed the market down.” 

Overall, apartment sales were down more than 10 percent compared with the first quarter of last year, according to a Journal analysis of city records of closed sales. That is the slowest pace since the first quarter of 2013. While sales of co-ops fell only slightly, by 2.3 percent, sales of new condominiums nosedived by more than 35 percent

As apartment sales slowed late last year, many market analysts attributed the slowdown to uncertainty over governance in Washington, especially worries about changes to federal tax laws. More recently, they say, many sellers of individual apartments have made deep cuts in asking prices in order to make deals in a less favorable environment.

Pamela Liebman, president of the Corcoran Group, says there is plenty of activity in the market – but only if sellers price their properties properly. “We have plenty of good stories where there are still bidding wars, and stories where things don’t sell because they are just overpriced,” Liebman says. “Buyers are much more aggressive, and in a lot of circumstances they are getting what they want. The good news is there are a lot of buyers, and they have plenty of cash and are ready to make deals.”

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