Saturday, April 3, 2010

Manhattan Apartments Q1 2010

Manhattan New York apartment reports for first quarter 2010 is out.  As I've predicted since 4 months ago, the report shows that prices declined while sales jumped.

I've said that the market bottom was Oct/Nov last year.  This means that when the Q1'10 report comes out (which happened 2 days ago), it would show a price decline.  This is because the Q1'10 report (since these lag 3 months), reflect prices agreed upon in Q4'09.  Bloomberg titled their article Manhattan Apartment Sales Jump, stating that while prices declined, sales doubled.  CNN's headline is Manhattan Apartments - Signs Are Positive.  Similarly, this article summarizes the reports by the top Manhattan brokerage houses.  Prices down, sales jumped 100%.

Again, these reports lag 3 months relative to when prices were agreed upon because property takes 3 months to close.  Most readers don't know this.  Even reporters who write these reports don't know the significance of this 3 month lag.  This is the context that reports have to be evaluated upon.

In real time, prices in the Manhattan market are increasing relative to Q4 2009.  Hence my prediction is that the Q2 2010 report will show a price increase.  Because prices agreed upon during the first quarters are higher than prices agreed upon in the fourth quarter of 2009.   Hence yes - prices are coming back up.   You will need to wait 3 months to read it in the news.

A tip - never rely on the property market reports.  If you do, you are relying on 3 month old data.  Would you buy a stock if you only knew the price three months ago?

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