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Market Watch: The Good, the Bad & the Ugly

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Max Gross takes on the Herculean task of making sense of the current state of the New York City real estate market in today's Post, and after reading the research and chatting up the experts, Gross's take is that there are two sides to the story. And so, there are two stories! First, the bad news. Rising inventory, a plunge in sales, thousands of layoffs in the finance sector, desperate developers offering incentives galore, hesitant buyers afraid to pull the trigger, etc. A shoppers' market, if there are any shoppers left. Says Elliman superbroker Jacky Teplitzky, "You cannot price anything according to the last six months of 2008 - you can't price according to 2007!" Adds Corcoran CEO Pam Liebman, "The doctor is the new investment banker!" And on. But now, the good news, or as the Post calls it, the Bright Spots.

Mortgage rates are dropping following the Fed's announcement that it was buying $500 billion in Fannie & Freddie home loans ("It's the best Christmas present that the real estate industry could have gotten," says Manhattan Mortgage's Melissa Cohn), slowing construction will help current inventory move, and appraiser-to-the-stars Jonathan Miller says project absorption is in a "relatively good position" as we head into the slowdown, compared to what was going on during the last market crash. Cut to the big guns for some more spin. THE Dolly Lenz: "I don't see panic at all. I see people repositioning, remaneuvering and long-term strategizing. But I see zero panic." Also, "I just sold an apartment for just under $40 million." TMI? And here's CORE Group CEO Shaun Osher: "Feasibly, we could have a housing crisis five years from now, if the market comes back in three years." Two years, Osh, two years.
· Riding the Storm [NYP]
· Bright Spots [NYP]