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Second-Quarter Real Estate: First-Time Buyers Flood the Market

…Spring is traditionally the time when real-estate inventory loosens up a little bit as sellers wake from their winter slumber and put their apartments up for sale, says appraiser Jonathan Miller. But considering how “insane” and unexpectedly robust the first quarter of this year was, it should come as no surprise that the second quarter looks similarly contrary, too.

The median price of a Manhattan apartment is up just 4.3 percent from last year to $865,000, according to Douglas Elliman’s second quarter market report, one of many released today by the city’s real estate firms. But, says Miller, who prepared the survey, it was the “most active” quarter since 2007, with the number of sales up 18.8 percent from the same time last year to 3,144. Inventory fell 31.3 percent to 4,795 listings. “More stuff came on the market” the past three months, says Miller, “but it was essentially absorbed.” Per the Corcoran Group, the number of new listings did rise from 4,760 to 5,547 from the first quarter to the second quarter of this year.

Still, Miller hesitates to call the market “recovered,” describing it instead as undergoing “a period of better housing stats.” The fact that there’s hand-wringing over rising interest rates shows there are still worries about the market, he says. But he’s optimistic about what interest hikes can bring, including making banks less tentative about lending, which could bring more people into the marketplace, resulting in a normal, balanced market….

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