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Year End Reports Paint A Not So Rosy Picture, Spin Helps

Hot on the heels of Town & Country’s year-end report, Prudential Douglas Elliman and Brown Harris Stevens have released their own. The news? Other than the high-end market, not particularly great. Instead of adding to the chorus of analysis and spin, we thought we’d take a look at what the business-minded folks over at Crain’s, Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal make of the numbers.

Crain’s: They blame the dip in 2011’s 4th quarter sales on the an artificially inflated 2010 4th quarter. Fearing an end to the Bush-era tax cuts, homebuyers snapped up properties at the end of 2010, making 2011 look anemic in the process. They noted a nominal .7% increase in the number of properties sold in Q4.

Bloomberg: The most pessimistic outlook on the reports (and perhaps the most realistic), they focused on the negatives. They noted the Hamptons saw a 13% decline in home sale prices, a drop in total inventory and an increase in the amount time on the market between the fourth quarters of 2011 and 2010.

The Wall Street Journal: They tied the sluggish sales to uncertainty on Wall St. and shrinking Wall St. bonuses. “The wild card is how the decline in bonuses play out in the market,” said Jonathan Miller, who prepared the market report for Prudential Douglas Elliman. However, many analysts and area brokers think this assessment might be premature.

• Report: 4Q – 2011 Manhattan Sales [Prudential Douglas Elliman] • Report: Fourth Quarter 2011 [Brown Harris Stevens]

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