NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – For many New Yorkers, summer is very busy time in real estate.
Steven James, president and CEO of Douglas Elliman NYC, stopped by CBSN New York to discuss this tricky market.
“Well, it’s very encouraging. This was a really, really good quarter. For the first time in 18 months, we had more sales,” James said. “Interest rates are lower than where they were a year ago, and when interest rates are low, buyers feel more comfortable because it doesn’t cost them as much. There’s more inventory, which isn’t necessarily a plus for the sellers in the sense of prices going up. When you have a small pool of buyers and a big inventory, prices are probably going to be contained. As opposed to a big pool of buyers, and a much tinier inventory, which is what we’ve had for the last ten years. So this is a real change.”
James said that Upper Manhattan remains a place people are buying because “the consumer in Manhattan was pushed out. They were pushed further north up into Riverdale, the Bronx, lower Westchester and also out to Brooklyn, Queens and also out on to Long Island.”
James said the new mansion tax, which took effect July 1, drove buyers to try and close deals before the tax took effect.
“It went from one percent of the entire sales price at a price above a million to all the way up to 4.9 percent on a $25 million sale. So it’s a huge savings if you can beat the July 1 deadline, and many people did,” James said.
James says there are still places to find value in Manhattan.
“I think in Manhattan, strangely enough, I think the Upper East Side is still really good value. You can get some really good deals, especially east of Third Avenue. I’m going to throw something out there that’s really kind of shocking: There is actually really good value on Park Avenue,” James said. “Those prices have come down a bit. There’s more negotiability. Not everyone wants Park Avenue. You would think that they would. They haven’t for the last year or so. It’s been very expensive, now it’s not quite so expensive. If a buyer is willing to go through that coop process, which can be very stringent, if they’re willing to go through that and they’re capable of doing through that they can get good value now on Park Avenue.”
As for the boroughs, Brooklyn still has values to be found, but not in Park Slope and Brooklyn Heights, which James called “gold coast.” He also said there’s value to be found in Queens.