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Manhattan Inventory Changes Are Wildy Consistent

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[This week, real estate appraiser, Curbed graph guru and podcaster extraordinaire Jonathan Miller breaks down a decade under the inventory influence.]


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After releasing that Manhattan phonebook yesterday I was still in 10-year trend mode, so I was curious how consistent inventory was in 2009 given the limited activity in the first half of the year versus the second half of the year. I looked at the month-over-month change in listing inventory in Manhattan. I have inventory captured on a quarterly basis back more than a decade but I didn’t get the idea to capture monthly inventory until about eight years ago, so I had to work with that. (I was also trying to figure out a way to have colored ovals in three consecutive 3CW posts. Okay, admittedly that’s a coincidence.)

I looked at the change in Manhattan co-op/condo listing inventory on a month-over-month basis. The thick red line was the average M-O-M change from 2000 to 2009. It shows a general rise in inventory leading up to a peak in growth in April, and then slides downward due to increased sales activity through the end of the summer. There is a large spike in listing inventory in September, circa Labor Day weekend, with a downward decline through the fall as sales increase. Then comes the phenomenon of sellers waiting until the new year to enter the market. No real surprises there, other than the size of the Labor Day increase.

I also plotted the year 2008 (black line) and 2009 (blue line) with the idea of bookending with Lehman's bankruptcy as the tipping point for the new market, and see if they followed the same pattern despite all the real estate turmoil. Surprisingly, they do, however 2008 followed the 2002-2009 average trend more closely than 2009.

The one glaring exception in 2009 (blue line) to the 2002-2009 average was the lack of a spring "hump." Even with sales at half-normal levels in early 2009, inventory dropped sharply from February to August. The latter part of the drop being attributable to the return of sales activity.

However, I suspect the seasonality of listings will return for the spring of 2010, but with a more pronounced hump of inventory as sellers who pulled inventory off the market last spring bring them back to market. We can see some evidence of that with the December-to-January jump, which outpaced the 2002-2009 average increase.
· Manhattan Co-op/Condo Listing Inventory M-O-M % Change [Miller Samuel]
· Three Cents Worth archive [Curbed]