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Has The Bubble Already Burst?

Reading about giddy folks who've recently cashed out on their NYC apartments to "live their dreams," the ever-present question percolates: real estate bubble, or not? An email from a Curbed reader offers an interesting take:

Here's an uncharted meme that you might want to investigate: the bubble's already burst. There seems to be collective amnesia about the fact that prices from about late '01 to mid '03 dipped substantially in nabes (Tribeca in particular) where there had been huge run-ups during the late 1990s.
Full text of the email inside, with East Village comparatives. A question to those who've been in the market as of late: what's your take on price levels these days? Emails to tips@curbed.com; we'll sum up the best here.

The rest of the reader email:

I was actively engaged in the market during this period (I sold two apartments and was looking for a place for about a year) so it was fascinating to see semi-bargains then, something not reported by the media.

I think the major run-ups that are being recorded for the past three years or so actually happened during the middle of '03-late '03; for example, I looked at a small two bedroom in the East Village in the summer of '03. It was priced at $415,000 but then the owner took it off the market for reasons unexplained. Near the end of '03 he put it on the market again for $475,000. Within a week, he got several offers, all over the asking price. Not sure what the winning bid was but I'm guessing it was over $500K.

So, think about it: that's a nearly $100,000 price jump in three months. I think if you talk to people who sold around then you'll hear similar stories....I highly doubt that this sort of increase happened during the particularly recessionary time of late 2001-2002.

· Sellers Cash Out Huge [NYPost]