Wall Street layoffs are delaying bankers from buying apartments. The brokerage Brown Harris Stevens said the number of contracts signed in Manhattan fell by 21 percent in the first quarter of 2008 compared to last year. Many new bankers are renting instead of buying property that might not retain its value. “Any real estate market is based on confidence and that is what drives it, so with all the uncertainty on Wall Street that confidence has been shaken,” Hall Willkie, President of Brown Harris Stevens, told Reuters. In its May issue, The Real Deal reported on landlords’ fears that Wall Street layoffs would drive up vacancies.