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Better, But Not Done Yet

New York
Better, But Not Done Yet
Miller Samuel CEO Jonathan Miller
Speaking of the New York Times, we dropped by its HQ yesterday morning for its VU 2010 real estate outlook, keynoted by Miller Samuel CEO Jonathan Miller. His grade for the housing market? B(with a few Cs and Ds, to quote his son). He says he used to think that recovery meant getting better, but now it means we're not getting any worse. NYC has not seen as much exposure to foreclosures, and inventory is lower than the rest of the country; the 6.5k in shadow condo inventory units may be converted to rental, which will take some pressure off. Housing is in a much better place, and he's encouraged, he says, but we're not done yet—we have to watch for unemployment and credit. The worst is behind us, but the real recovery is still a few years away.
BFC Partners' Donald Cappocia, TF Cornerstone's Tom Elghanayan, and Douglaston Development's Jeff Levine
For the developer's housing perspective, we turned to BFC Partners'Donald Cappocia, TF Cornerstone's Tom Elghanayan, and Douglaston Development's Jeff Levine, who also offered some market encouragement. Buyers are making offers 10 to 15% less than asking prices, which BFC is responding to, Donald says (see story below), while Tom says he sees much more activity in his marked-to-market stock. Jeff says he's confident for the spring and fall, thanks to a new optimism in the market. Credible buyers know that mortgage rates aren't a long-term given anymore, which is forcing them to pull the trigger so they don't miss the bottom, Donald adds. Concessions like free rent are beginning to shrink, but are still important in fringe neighborhoods, they say. “Square Feet” columnist Vivian Marino moderated.