Q. Last spring, we put our Upper West Side apartment on the market. It is a two-bedroom in mint condition with wraparound views, and we listed it for a little over $2 million. Ten days later, our agent suggested lowering the price because she said the market was suddenly soft. After about four weeks, we took the apartment off the market. I have noticed that many comparable apartments are now off the market, too. Is the overall market soft? Are two-bedrooms the problem? Is it my neighborhood?
A. The housing market in New York is not what it was a year ago. Gone are the days when you could list your apartment for 20 percent more than the last comparable sale and watch the offers roll in over the next couple of days. “This has been the story for 2016,” said Jonathan J. Miller, the president of the real estate appraisal firm Miller Samuel. “The market has largely reset.”
While 2015 was a tale of sparse inventory sparking crazed bidding wars, 2016 has taken it down a notch. More apartments are on the market, and they take longer to sell. The market has softened, particularly at the top. So for those of you trying to unload a $65 million spread, now is the time to lower your expectations. The lower end of the Manhattan market, with apartments priced around $500,000, is still tight, as those homes are in high demand. Your $2 million two-bedroom falls somewhere in the upper middle of the market.
Buyers, sellers and brokers are slowly adjusting to this new reality, which might explain why your broker suggested changing course. It might also explain why other similar listings have languished.
Now is the time to do your homework. Enlist three brokers to assess your apartment and suggest list prices. Find brokers that specialize in your neighborhood and price category. And never rely on the advice of any one person. “I don’t care if it’s your husband’s best friend, you should always have three pricing opinions from three area experts,” said Kathy Braddock, a managing director at William Raveis in New York City.
The market may not be white-hot, but it is still active. It just might take you more time to sell, and you might not fetch as much as you hoped. But as Barak Dunayer, an associate broker at Halstead Property’s West Side office, said: “When property is priced correctly, it sells. Period.”
Saturday, October 15, 2016