Irrational exuberance on real estate in NYC

Aug 03, 2009 Published under Economics, New York City, United States

I have been hearing many cliches about how the New York City Real Estate market at the end of the day will not adjust as much as the rest of the real estate market because of scarcity.  But the economist in me doesn’t buy it.  Yes, as supply is somewhat limited, real estate in NYC should reasonably appreciate more solidly than in the expanses of San Antonio, TX, where land is plenty.  But the crazy run-up in prices over the last decade+ cannot be reconciled solely by scarcity, and as bubbles burst in all other asset categories, so to they will (and have started to) in Manhattan real estate.

It is surprising that so few resources are available online to track historical trends in real estate – per square foot and/or per median and average home prices, for NYC and otherwise.

It almost seems as if real estate brokers want to focus prospects purely on 5-year timelines, and that is all they publish and share.

So here are the few sites I found useful, in case others find them handy:

  • Free By 50 has some great posts and analysis:
  • Explains why Average Home Appreciation across the US has averaged about 5.9% per annum nationally over the last 40 years (and 6% in NYS), but why this number may be inflated by recent exorbitant re appreciation, and why thus the more accurate/conservative annual estimate is 4%
  • is of course the best site to look at specific buildings and their history
  • does a pretty good job at debunking myths, including the one about co-op boards being able to defy market forces
  • on the housing bubble and Real Estate historical trends 
  • has some good data and charts re trends, but I find some of it spotty and not as historical
  • For short-term info to prospective buyers, Time Magazine reported on a Deutsche Bank analysis about NY Real Estate predicting a 40% drop
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