Things have certainly been tough in NYC for a while. According to StreetEasy, about 400 more properties are coming on the market every week, and the time on market can be over 6 months! Prices have come down about 25%. Q1 2009 was slightly better than Q4 2008 in terms of closings and contracts signed.
On the rental side, vacancies are up and rents are down. People are renewing leases for LESS than the previous year's rent - good for them! Others are downsizing, or upsizing to more space for the same price. And I am seeing more people moving back to Manhattan from Brooklyn!
The truth is that while collectively we are in a world of hurt, the recession is really good for a lot of people. They are able to live New York, the way they always wanted to (perhaps the way they used to!).
I myself have been living New York this last week participating in what has become a New York staple: the Tribeca Film Festival. I have seen 7 movies and many actors and directors, some of whom I even got to talk with. I'm not a huge film festival junkie, but I decided for no good reason to volunteer in 2008 and had so much fun I went back in 2009. And I have had a great deal of fun!!! The weather has been gorgeous and I finally fulfilled another first, which was to eat at Bubby's (yes, 12 years in NYC and never eaten there until last week).
This last week, though a lot of work (especially squeezing in real estate showings all around!), has really refreshed me and made me proud to be living in New York again. Yes, things are tough for all around, but it's just incomparable to anywhere else!
On an annecdotal level, I have been seeing more people truly interested in buying. Some were always kind of off in the distance, but several customers have contacted me in the past month, interested in actively searching for the right apartment to buy. And it's a good time. There's no saying that this is the market bottom, but I feel reasonably comfortable saying that we're close to the bottom of this cycle, and anyone who is interested in buying can feel comfortable doing so if they have a reasonable down payment and their credit has stayed intact.
I'll be posting my latest listings in Gramercy and Chinatown soon!