Bring on the bargains

By Candace Taylor | March 10, 2009 05:53PM

From the March issue:
Six months ago, “luxury” was the all-encompassing buzzword of Manhattan real estate. Buyers happily paid astronomical sums, often sight (and even site) unseen, to live in buildings designed by world-famous architects, with private wine cellars and terrazzo marble as far as the eye could see. In an environment where financing was easy, bonuses were huge and real estate values rose at breathtaking speeds, home prices seemed almost beside the point. Now, Manhattan buyers are just as demanding, but their criteria have changed drastically. The new buzzword — and subject of buyers’ singlemindedness — is “bargain.” With real estate prices falling for the first time in a decade, home seekers are just as intent on price cuts as they once were on floor-to-ceiling windows and Sub-Zero refrigerators. “I tell all my sellers, ‘You must give them a deal,'” said real estate doyenne Sharon Baum, a senior vice president at the Corcoran Group. “If you’re not willing to do that, you shouldn’t be in this market.”

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