I've talked to a lot of brokers lately, and the consensus was that September was one of the worst months in quite some time. From my perspective, it was slow, from others I heard terms used like "a disaster", and many brokers were saying it was the worst month in years. I think that talk was a little dramatic considering that the bookends for the first 4 weeks of fall were Labor Day and Columbus Day with 9/11 and 5 Jewish holidays in between. So, I don't put too much weight on September. Additionally, the peak of the credit panic and spike in rates started at the end of August and ran well into September. As I mentioned in my September 7th market update, I surmised that the Jumbo rates were out of whack, and likely to fall significantly. For a short period in late August many banks were suddenly upping jumbo rates to 8% and higher. Today the average jumbo rate (according to bankrate.com) is back to 6.75%- a huge difference!
As opposed to September, October is shaping up to be a much better month. Our web volume is the best it's been in months, and is now exceeding pre-credit crunch numbers. We are very busy, and people are buying. We are seeing some extraordinary buying interest not only in Manhattan, but Long Island City and Harlem as well. In LIC, The Hunters Point Condos drew large crowds, with some even waiting overnight to be the first to purchase, and it is reported that 40 condos went to contract on the first day. In Harlem, new developments like The Aura on 109th Street between 1st and 2nd Avenues, we very well received. It is reported that more than half of the units had been sold in 2 weeks with an average price of over $700 per square foot. Even on the upper end in Manhattan, buildings like Related's The Brompton (with little advertising) sold over 50% with prices at $1500 per square foot and beyond.
In summary, it looks like the slowdown in August and September is behind us, and market activity has resumed a sense of normalcy. With rates still trending downward, those expecting a big shakeout are likely to be disappointed once again.