We're in limbo. Real Estate has been deemed non-essential, so we agents haven't been able to physically show apartments. BUT, business is still happening. Shawn and I actually helped some first-time buyers close this week. There was an insane amount of effort from everyone on both sides to get the sale to the finish line. Our team literally invented a new virtual process: from a Zoom board interview, to a socially distanced walk-through, to a closing spread out over a full day. In the end, two wonderful New Yorkers are now happy homeowners, and we are feeling pretty great about that.
We would normally discourage making such a big financial and personal decision after only experiencing the home virtually. That being said, if you are in a situation where you need a home, the market is pressing forward. We are seeing an increased interest in listings as the lifting of the New York pause starts to look like an eventual reality. Real estate will be in Phase 2, so we think it may be June before formal showings resume, but safe activity is happening. Say the listing agent lives in the same building as the listing, perhaps they can give access without actually being present. Or maybe you know a building well and feel fine only seeing the unit remotely. And there are always video tours. All this to say: If you're in the market (or will be soon), it's worth studying listings now and reaching out to your agent with questions.
The big question is how will all this affect prices? It is very hard to predict what it will be like once we fully resume, but at present the market isn't moving one way or another. Prices are remaining steady. People do predict a pent-up demand right when the pause is lifted and there are no viewings at present, so it would be smart to spend your time getting all your ducks in a row for your purchase now—get your 2019 taxes done, get pre-approved for financing, make a financial summary to share with your offer, and narrow down your priorities. Bottom line: I predict prices will remain what they are now with some modest price drops, yet most sellers will be much more open to negotiation. Buyers should be able to find a deal in this environment especially considering low mortgage rates. Sellers should be wary of being pressured into large price drops before we see where things fall. Recessions do not necessarily have a negative effect on the housing market. Historically they often don't.
If you are in the market for a deal, we actually have two listings to tell you about. STEALS, I tell you! No really. I don't say that lightly, I actually think both are worth much more than they will sell for. But times are strange and our sellers want to sell. The homes are very different price points, very different apartments, but both are poised to make some lucky buyers very happy.
215 West 122nd Street Garden
I LOVE this unit. It's a beautiful brand new condo duplex with a streamlined closing process. Many buildings are at a stalemate with closings right now because of the board process or management hasn't yet figured out remote communication. This unit, on the other hand, could possibly close within a month of an accepted offer. We've had several near misses here, but no deal made. It's hard to understand: over 600sf of outdoor space, small boutique building, two bedrooms plus a rec room that would make an amazing master bedroom or work-from-home studio, amazing block (We know, live down the street!), close to express trains and great restaurants, and luxury details galore. I thought it was a deal putting it on the market under $1.5M. For one reason or another it is still available, now asking $1.345M. http://www.warburgrealty.com/listing/WR-1428015/
80 Lasalle Street 2A
This apartment is near and dear to my heart. It was my first transaction as a real estate agent six years ago. The buyers are now ready to upgrade to a two bedroom, and they loved the complex so much they saw one come up in the sister building and jumped on it. Enter a pandemic. Sadly, everything hit just as these guys were between homes, so they are currently carrying two apartments. They need to sell. And it is a WONDERFUL home: 9' ceilings, six large closets, and oversized windows giving lots of light. The unit faces the courtyard so it is very quiet. The sellers just made repairs and paint touch-ups, it is in very good condition, though it probably needs new floors throughout (unless linoleum is your thing). The complex is Morningside Gardens, a lovely oasis in West Harlem right near the 1 train at 125th. This really is a $515,000 apartment. We are about to drop the price to $475,000, and plan to consider all offers. http://www.warburgrealty.com/listing/WR-2830361/
Let us know if you want more information on these, or any other apartments. We are successfully helping people buy and sell homes in New York, even now. We hope your home is a happy one, and that you're not looking to make a change during this crisis. But if you or someone know does need help, you know where to find us. Much love NYC!