Liebman says 30% cuts make sales

TRD New York /
May.May 15, 2009 12:27 PM
Left to right: Jared Kushner, Tom Acitelli, Ivanka Trump, Pamela Liebman, Dottie Herman, Jonathan Miller (Source: Dan Marino)

Residential apartment buyers want prices to be nearly one-third off the market’s high mark to convince them to go into contract, Pamela Liebman, CEO of the Corcoran Group said at a panel discussion yesterday.

“My brokers are telling me, ‘The way I am making deals right now is if I can prove to the buyer that this apartment [is] actually selling for 30 percent less than it sold at the height of the market,'” she said.

Liebman said price cuts and new product releases are driving buyers to look at apartments, in a market where prices are generally considered to be down an average 20 percent.

Liebman spoke on a panel that was part of a residential real estate event called Observer Living, hosted by the New York Observer in Soho last night.

The panel also included Ivanka Trump, executive vice president of development and acquisitions at the Trump Organization; Jonathan Miller, president and CEO of appraisal firm Miller Samuel; and Dottie Herman, president and CEO of brokerage Prudential Douglas Elliman. The panel, one of three during the event, was moderated by Observer senior editor Tom Acitelli.  

Trump said despite the weak market and the offers at steep discounts, buyers’ expectations of extreme price cuts are fading.

“I am sure everyone sitting up here has received a plethora of 50-percent-off offers by sort of ‘predatory buyers’ who thought that every seller was distressed,” she said, but added that such offers were on the decline.

The market would continue to retreat, though, said Miller.

“We are well over half way in terms of what we have seen in terms of price decline. But I don’t think we are saying right now we are at the bottom,” he said.

Miller said the relatively looser lending standards for conforming loans have pushed up the relative number of new homebuyers.

“Fifty percent of all purchases, as best as we can tell, appear to be first-time buyers,” Miller said.

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