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IT IS AMAZING WHAT PEOPLE GET USED TO. Buyers are accustomed to being in bidding wars. Any listing on the market now that has a realistic price can expect to get multiple bids. Less desirable apartments might not have as many bids, but at the right price they will sell.

Janice Silver
Manager
BELLMARC EAST SIDE
   Fourth Quarter 2013
Current
Median Prices
Studios
$435K Coops $645K Condos
1 Bedrooms
$675K Coops $900K Condos
2 Bedrooms
$1.55M Coops $1.85M Condos
3 Bedrooms
$3.10M Coops $4.5M Condos

This wasnít the case less than two years ago. We arenít seeing a lot of new listings coming up right now but we expect to see an increase in inventory in the upcoming year. Typically, the end of the year is not a strong time for new listings but the number of closings on Christmas Eve and New Yearís Eve in 2013 tell the tale. Banks are taking longer than ever to sign off on mortgages, so cash buyers are still greatly favored. Sellers are accepting less in many cases, in order to have a deal without a mortgage. Boards continue to be a little particular, adopting the attitude that it is easy to get another buyer if there is a rejection.

Overall the Upper East Side market hasnít drastically changed between the third and fourth quarters. Prices are moving up and next year looks promising. Sellers can expect strong prices and buyers can expect a slightly broader choice as more properties appear for sale

   Third Quarter 2013
Current
Median Prices
Studios
$435K Coops $645K Condos
1 Bedrooms
$675K Coops $900K Condos
2 Bedrooms
$1.55M Coops $1.85M Condos
3 Bedrooms
$3.10M Coops $4.5M Condos

Anyone looking to buy or sell an apartment has a story to tell. Buyers are finding it impossible to actually get to a closing. Higher bids, buyers with better qualifications and tough board requirements are making things harder. Customers with cash are winning out over those needing mortgages. Financing contingencies are once again absent in many contracts to get the deal done. Creative apartment seekers have had to come up with new ways to find homes. Some people are actually walking into open houses with pre-printed offers. These offers are usually higher than asking price for the apartment. They also carefully list their qualifications and closing flexibility. It works! Sellers are happy to see this market but the result is a higher percentage of board rejections as more people are in line for apartments. Strong personal financials are very important. Inventory is not expected to increase anytime soon on the Upper East Side.

   Second Quarter 2013
Current
Median Prices
Studios
$435K Coops $645K Condos
1 Bedrooms
$675K Coops $900K Condos
2 Bedrooms
$1.55M Coops $1.85M Condos
3 Bedrooms
$3.10M Coops $4.5M Condos

Interest rates are trending up and buyers are eager to find homes as soon as possible. There are sure to be multiple offers made on properties in all price ranges. With so few apartments available, even on the Upper East Side, anyone looking for a home is well educated about the market and knows the inventory. This is the case with units of every size. The lack of two- and three-bedroom homes is especially notable. The key to making a purchase is acting fast and presenting a strong offer. It is a big advantage to close with cash and some sellers are now taking lower offers if no mortgage is involved. Although prices havenít yet reached the all-time highs of five or six years ago, it is clear that they are on the rise. It makes sense that homeowners would be waiting for prices to increase even a little before putting their apartments on the market. While that remains to be seen, it certainly looks like thatís where we are headed.

   First Quarter 2013
Current
Median Prices
Studios
$435K Coops $645K Condos
1 Bedrooms
$675K Coops $900K Condos
2 Bedrooms
$1.55M Coops $1.85M Condos
3 Bedrooms
$3.10M Coops $4.5M Condos

Bids were placed on all sizes of apartments, with bidding wars extremely common. Prices were stable and the negotiability factor between the asking and selling prices declined in enough cases to call it a trend. Larger apartments had multiple bids; smaller one-bedroom units and studios were not moving as quickly. Yet even those were closing throughout the quarter. The message to sellers was loud and clear: this is a great time to sell! As apartments came on the market, buyers absorbed the new inventory. We expect a continuation of this activity through the next quarter. With renewed buyer interest, sellers can afford to price new listings a little higher, but just a little. While huge asking-price adjustments upwards wonít attract savvy customers, the activity level is brisk and final closing prices are looking good. Positive news for buyers is that prices are still down from an all-time high and it is worth testing the waters