Core creates residential real-time report

By Alison Gregor | January 14, 2009 02:09PM

A new monthly report by Core Group Marketing that uses contract data to monitor Manhattan’s residential housing market showed apartment prices shrinking by 19 percent from initial listing to contract in the final quarter of 2008.

The report, called the Monthly Core Real Time Report, reflects activity seen in the previous three months, and includes data such as absorption, days on the market and available inventory.

“I’ve been looking for a real-time report like this, and to my knowledge, this is the first one,” said Shaun Osher, founder and CEO of Core Group Marketing. “It tracks contracts info. To me, that’s what reflects the marketplace and where we are currently, not closed information, which is actually a look back in history.” The Core data is basically culled from the company database.

Appraiser Jonathan Miller of Miller Samuel agreed that this would be the first such report, but he hasn’t seen it yet. “I’m skeptical, but intrigued by the concept,” Miller said. “But I would like to know more about his methodology.”

The CoreReal Time Report for January showed a total of 542 units going into contract at 14 percent below the asking price in October, November and December. No comparative data exists yet. The strongest part of the market was one-bedroom apartments, where 208 new contracts were signed at an average of 88 percent of the asking price.

The weakest part of the market was the luxury sector, where 10 apartments with five bedrooms or more saw signed contracts at 79 percent of the asking price.

“We are clearly in a market that is being controlled by the buyer, with offers being submitted at an average of 18 percent below the asking price in December,” Osher said.

The report also compares contract sales prices by neighborhood. The Upper East and Upper West sides showed the most stability, with contracts signed in all apartment size categories.

The report also tracks available inventory, which in the fourth quarter of 2008 was about 6,618 units.

The majority of the units were on the Upper West and Upper East sides, while east Midtown also had a large percentage. Meanwhile, absorption in those neighborhoods is also higher, Osher said.

“One thing I think is interesting to keep an eye on is total availability,” he said. “I’m expecting that inventory is going to be going down, not coming up, which is counterintuitive,” and different from the previous recession.

That’s because many sellers are taking properties off the market, and units that were for sale are renting instead, Osher said. Also, the inventory for new development is shrinking, he said.