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Mentioned in this Article:
Stephen G. Kliegerman

Stephen G. Kliegerman
President of Development Marketing

The Real Deal

Taking NYCs Pulse A Real Time Look At How Manhattan Nabes Are Performing

By Leigh Kamping-Carder

Charting a neighborhood’s recovery since the crash is one thing, given the availability of historical data on sales and pricing. But what about taking the pulse of a neighborhood in real time? Or predicting the future of a neighborhood’s sales market? That’s far trickier.

But with help from real estate analytics and consulting firm Urban Digs, The Real Deal did just that, gathering data on inventory and pending sales for Manhattan co-ops, condos and townhouses from 16 different Manhattan neighborhoods. (“Pending sales” are the number of homes in contract at any given time, not the number of new contracts signed during a set period.)

The result is a snapshot of the current supply and demand, as measured by active listings and homes under contract, respectively. Those two data points can provide information about the future course of the sales market. For example, an increase in pending sales indicates that more closed deals are in the pipeline compared to a year ago and, consequently, that demand for homes in a given market is on the rise.

However, to get a more complete picture of the health of a market and to assess buyers’ confidence in an area, it helps to look at changes in active listings as well to see “whether or not inventory is piling up, [and] whether or not demand is eating up inventory,” said Noah Rosenblatt, a broker and the founder of UrbanDigs.

If demand is up and supply is down, buyers are forced to “scramble” for properties, Rosenblatt said, giving sellers an advantage. If the opposite is true, properties can languish on the market, forcing sellers to lower their asking prices or take their properties off the market.

Furthermore, if both pending sales and active listings are up, it could indicate that not enough buyers are interested in a given neighborhood — or that buyers and sellers are too far apart on prices.

For example, in Battery Park City, where deal volume has been rising since 2009, pending sales last month were down 73.2 percent compared to the same period last year. But that’s not simply because of a lack of inventory, since listings were down only 17.3 percent. To Rosenblatt, the gap is partly an indication that sellers are not pricing their homes realistically.

Conversely, in the Financial District, pending sales are up 60.1 percent year-over-year, and inventory is down 17.9 percent.

Of course, wilder swings are more prevalent in neighborhoods with fewer overall sales and listings. It’s not surprising that core areas like the Upper East Side and Upper West Side show a less pronounced change in inventory and pending sales.

With the exception of a few neighborhoods, inventory across Manhattan is down compared to last year, the result of a steady pace of sales and a lack of new product hitting the market. As a result, the scales have been tipped slightly in favor of sellers. Here’s a closer look.

1. EAST HARLEM
Pending sales
March 2011: 39
March 2012: 62
Change: +59 percent

Active listings
March 2011: 159
March 2012: 194
Change: +22 percent

Neighborhood note: More sellers are listing their properties this year in East Harlem. But even more buyers are signing deals, tipping the market in favor of sellers, data show.

2. UPPER WEST SIDE
Pending sales
March 2011: 383
March 2012: 408
Change: +6.5 percent

Active listings
March 2011: 1,051
March 2012: 1,033
Change: -1.7 percent

Neighborhood note: The Upper West Side, like the Upper East Side, is a barometer for the Manhattan market, but has lagged hot neighborhoods like Tribeca, Rosenblatt said.

3. UPPER EAST SIDE
Pending sales
March 2011: 456
March 2012: 473
Change: +3.7 percent

Active listings
March 2011: 1,689
March 2012: 1,621
Change: -4 percent

Neighborhood note: Pending sales on the Upper East Side have picked up in the last few weeks, suggesting sellers may be lowering pricing expectations to sign deals, Rosenblatt said.

4. CHELSEA/MIDTOWN SOUTH
Pending sales
March 2011: 180
March 2012: 198
Change: +10 percent

Active listings
March 2011: 426
March 2012: 457
Change: +7.3 percent

Neighborhood note: In Chelsea, demand and supply are fairly evenly matched in the market, signifying a moderate level of sales growth, Rosenblatt said.

5. TRIBECA
Pending sales
March 2011: 72
March 2012: 120
Change: +66.7 percent

Active listings
March 2011: 249
March 2012: 305
Change: +22.5 percent

Neighborhood note: Tribeca is a neighborhood with near-constant demand; buyers who have lost out on desirable properties are now getting aggressive with their bids, Rosenblatt said.

6. BATTERY PARK CITY
Pending sales
March 2011: 56
March 2012: 15
Change: -73.2 percent

Active listings
March 2011: 139
March 2012: 115
Change: -17.3 percent

Neighborhood note: The area is underperforming Manhattan, Rosenblatt said. That’s the fallout from a 2010 sales spike when banks started lending there. Pending sales are low, but closer to normal.

7. INWOOD/WASHINGTON HEIGHTS
Pending sales
March 2011: 17
March 2012: 35
Change: +105.9 percent

Active listings
March 2011: 195
March 2012: 157
Change: -19.5 percent

Neighborhood note: With pending sales more than doubling since last year, and listings falling, Inwood/Washington Heights is showing the kind of numbers that cause properties to fly off the shelves, Rosenblatt said.

8. NORTH HARLEM/HAMILTON HEIGHTS
Pending sales
March 2011: 49
March 2012: 30
Change: -38.8 percent

Active listings
March 2011: 213
March 2012: 151
Change: -29.1 percent

Neighborhood note: In 2011, developers added only 268 new units in all of Harlem, the lowest in at least six years, according to Stephen Kliegerman, president of Halstead Property Development Marketing. In North Harlem and Hamilton Heights, demand is down.

9. SOUTH HARLEM/MORNINGSIDE HEIGHTS
Pending sales
March 2011: 81
March 2012: 78
Change: -3.7 percent

Active listings
March 2011: 286
March 2012: 195
Change: -31.8 percent

Neighborhood note: In the southern part of Harlem, in contrast to northern Harlem and Hamilton Heights, pending sales have stayed fairly strong compared to the previous year. Karen Shenker, a senior vice president at Corcoran who lives in the area, attributes the demand to new restaurants, bars and supermarkets that have opened in the last year or two.

10. MIDTOWN WEST/CLINTON
Pending sales
March 2011: 114
March 2012: 120
Change: +5.3 percent

Active listings
March 2011: 546
March 2012: 503
Change: -7.9 percent

Neighborhood note: In Midtown West/Clinton, the gap between pending sales and active listings has widened in the last year, indicating a healthy but not frenzied market.

11. MIDTOWN EAST
Pending sales
March 2011: 158
March 2012: 179
Change: +13.3 percent

Active listings:
March 2011: 820
March 2012: 765
Change: -6.7 percent

Neighborhood note: Julie Perlin, a senior vice president with Stribling & Associates, anticipates that much of the inventory in Midtown East will get absorbed in 2012 by first-time homebuyers fleeing the increasingly costly rental market.

12. GRAMERCY PARK/FLATIRON DISTRICT
Pending sales
March 2011: 70
March 2012: 67
Change: -4.2 percent

Active listings
March 2011: 196
March 2012: 171
Change: -12.8 percent

Neighborhood note: Gramercy Park and the Flatiron District are roughly in line with the rest of the market, not lagging in the same way as Battery Park City, but not participating in the surge evident in other neighborhoods, Rosenblatt said.

13. MURRAY HILL/KIPS BAY
Pending sales
March 2011: 102
March 2012: 122
Change: +19.6 percent

Active listings
March 2011: 367
March 2012: 327
Change: -10.9 percent

Neighborhood note: As in Midtown East, the Murray Hill/Kips Bay sales market will be helped in the next year by a tight rental market as well as low interest rates, according to Perlin.

14. FINANCIAL DISTRICT/CIVIC CENTER
Pending sales
March 2011: 33
March 2012: 53
Change: +60.1 percent

Active listings
March 2011: 340
March 2012: 279
Change: -17.9 percent

Neighborhood note: The Financial District may only be blocks from Battery Park City, but its inventory levels and pending sales have tracked in the opposite direction in the last year, creating the conditions for an improving market. But that improvement comes after four years of steadily falling sales.

15. SOHO/NOHO/WEST VILLAGE
Pending sales
March 2011: 105
March 2012: 120
Change: +14.3 percent

Active listings
March 2011: 239
March 2012: 200
Change: -16.3 percent

Neighborhood note: In the West Village, which like Soho, attracts a steady stream of buyers, the biggest impediment to sales over the next year will be a lack of inventory, said Armanda Squadrilli, a senior vice president at Elliman. “If there is inventory, it will sell,” she said.

15. LES/EAST VILLAGE/UNION SQUARE
Pending sales
March 2011: 202
March 2012: 139
Change: -31.2 percent

Active listings
March 2011: 365
March 2012: 389
Change: +6.6 percent

Neighborhood note: Though pending sales dropped in the Lower East Side, East Village and Union Square, Jon Varnedoe, a vice president at Prudential Douglas Elliman, said the neighborhood’s “pent-up buyers” who forestalled purchases during the recession are now confident prices will only rise.

Sunday, April 01, 2012