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  • Michael Shapot, Esq.

My Crystal Ball


If I could look into the future with complete clarity, I'd be choosing the right stocks and picking the winning lottery numbers. I could make a great living as a weatherman and kill it at the track picking the ponies. My predictions about Manhattan's residential real estate market are educated guesses based on my analysis of yesterday's data and my perception of today's market energy. The strong data and positive energy I feel in the market translate into cautious but calculated optimism about tomorrow's trends. In this month's blog, I'll share my insights so you understand my confidence. Data According to the most recent Olshan Luxury Market Report, 41 contracts were signed last week at $4 million and above, "extending the remarkable streak of 30 or more signed contracts to 13 weeks in a row." "Last week was the fourth week in a row of 40 or more signed contracts at $40 million and above", which hasn't happened since Olshan began tracking luxury sales in 2006. Urban Digs reports on the Manhattan market as a whole. Last week there were 399 newly signed contracts. They say that the past 7 weeks have been unprecedented in their strength, and describe Manhattan's deal volume and signed contract activity as "ludicrous" and "gangbusters". They were first to report Manhattan's shift from a buyers market to a sellers market.

Mortgage rates remain stable and low. Last week, 30 year fixed rate mortgages averaged 2.91% APR, and the Federal Reserve indicated its intent that rates remain low. The stock market is solid. The Dow is at or near record highs. Based on the market's powerful showing in Q1 and it's continued strength in early Q2, it's easy to predict where we're going. We will see higher prices in the Q2 sales reports, and it won't be just a reflection of larger and more expensive property sales skewing the numbers up. Demand is outpacing supply in all market segments. Basic economics predicts the results. Energy Restaurants are booming. Parks are jammed. City residents are out and about, enjoying the neighborhoods where they live. Traffic at open houses continues to be heavy and enthusiastic. Young professionals are returning to The City from their hibernation at their parents' homes and renting apartments again. NYC gyms, shops, salons and arenas will soon be open at full capacity. Smaller theaters could reopen over the summer and Broadway is on track for opening in September. Schools will be at full strength come fall. More than 6 million doses of COVID vaccines have been administered in The City, and about 36% of the adult population is now fully vaccinated. NYC employees have returned to work in their offices, and many other NYC office workers will follow soon.

Looking into my crystal ball --- the market's upward trajectory will continue so long as the economy remains strong. My Magic 8 Ball offers only a slightly different outlook. When I asked, "What is the short-term forecast for Manhattan's residential real estate market?" it replied: "Do your homework and trust your broker." Brilliant! The energy we feel in the market supports the data, and the data reinforces the positivity. NYC is alive and much better than well. The New Normal is upon us, and the residential real estate market is transitioning quickly. We're far from perfect; in any market, certain segments perform well relatively, and others underperform, and Manhattan is no different. Let us help you navigate our market's nuances and uncertainties, and be your resource for everything real estate related.