Off-market deals, known as “whisper listings,” have always been a fixture of the high-end market. But now whisper listings are becoming increasingly commonplace at all price points.
In the past, properties with price tags in the tens of millions would be quietly shopped around, fomenting a mixture of excitement, urgency and exclusivity. Now brokers are using the approach to sell properties that cost below $1 million.
“Sellers feel cocky. Sellers feel like they have the ball,” Brian Lewis, an associate broker at Halstead Property, told the New York Times. In the last six months, Lewis has taken on seven whisper listings from clients that don’t want to put their homes on the market, but who are willing to hear offers. Lewis’ off-market properties include a two-bedroom on the Upper West Side seeking around $1.295 million and a downtown loft asking $12 million. “In an improving economy with no inventory, they have the asset people want.”
And in a market with such tight inventory that open houses turn into flash mobs, the practice is expected to grow.
“There’s more of it now than ever before,” said CORE CEO Shaun Osher, who admitted to having at least 50 off-market properties stowed away on his computer. “We as brokers know everything is always for sale at a price.” [NYT] —Christopher Cameron