Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Confident Bottom-Fishers: Sales Market Getting Active

It is this time of the year that I usually hit a charter fishing boat in Montauk in hopes of catching something impressive like bluefish, tuna, bass, or even something more exciting like a shark (although now this is not so kosher). What invariably happens every year is that the skipper declares that the seas are too rough and we end up closer to shore and fishing for the same thing every year -- skate. Skate are a bottom-feeding fish, carnivorous, and not terribly pretty (okay, they are flat-out ugly). While they may be challenging on the eye, they are vibrant and plentiful.

I'm not entirely sure why I draw the analogy, but this year, I find myself landlocked in Manhattan, and fulfilling the real estate version of skate. After the "winter of fear", as I call it, suddenly there is an abundance of activity. For me, for now, it is largely sub-$1 Million business. This is not the high roller time of year. The big money -- and believe me it's out there -- is on a beach somewhere, or on that charter boat. There is a dramatic difference between today's market and that of just a few month ago.

For months, tire-kickers reigned supreme, and the universal thinking was 'I want to buy, but I think the market will come down more'. And come down it did. Prices in Manhattan have dropped as much as 30%, and in some cases even more. As they say, everything has its price. The thinking has shifted dramatically. Now what I hear most is 'I know the market may come down a little more, but I don't want to chance it'. I call it the rise of the confident bottom-fishers. And they are plentiful. So plentiful that my blogging is down and my weekends are shot, but there is activity, plenty of activity.

Sometimes, a sunny day and plenty of skate, is a good day, no matter where you are. We'll see if the big fish come back after Labor Day.

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