Foreign Buyers Bolster NYC Real Estate
New York City has been nearly immune to the housing slowdown. And thanks to foreign buyers, that may continue.
In Manhattan, where the median home costs exceed $1 million, prices were actually up 14 percent in the second quarter of 2008 compared with 2007. And prices in desirable suburbs have held steady.
Now home sellers, real estate practitioners, and mortgage lenders are listening uneasily to the bad news from Wall Street, wondering if now is the time that prices will take a nosedive.
“This can’t be good, because people are losing jobs,” says Ellen Bitton, CEO of Park Avenue Mortgage Group. “Nobody would have ever thought that a Lehman would go out of business.”
But some real estate practitioners are dubious that prices will go down. They say an influx of foreign buyers, taking advantage of the weak U.S. dollar, will actually drive prices up.
Wealthy buyers from Italy, Russia, and Great Britain in particular have snapped up properties in recent months, taking advantage of their strong currency compared with the U.S. dollar.
“Everybody wants a piece of the city,” says Debra Duneier, senior associate broker with Corcoran Group. “People with money will seize the opportunity to buy real estate.”
Source: The Associated Press, Alan Zibel