Residential broker confidence wavers in Q4

Low volume sapped residential brokers’ confidence in the fourth quarter of 2013, while commercial brokers felt bullish, according to the Real Estate Board of New York’s latest Broker Confidence index.

The eight-question poll, distributed among brokers on both sides of the market, sought agents’ views on the current and future state of the market. Residential brokers notched a slight dip to 8.32 from the previous quarter’s 8.51. Commercial brokers, on the other hand, were upbeat, with an overall confidence index of 9.49 from last quarter’s 9.18.

Residential brokers pointed to end-of-the-year concerns centered around record low inventory, while commercial brokers garnered a perfect 10 with regard to their confidence in the current market.

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“We anticipate that the residential market will grow in 2014, as buyers expand their search into the other boroughs,” REBNY President Steven Spinola said in a statement. “Foreign investors have emerged as an important aspect in the Manhattan market in the past 12 months, and we believe this activity will continue to enhance the market activity in the coming year.”

Some residential broker respondents also pointed to the the impact of rising interest rates, noting that buyers have a harder time competing with all-cash offers that are safely cocooned from the market’s ebb and flow. Still, a few viewed the strong demand and dwindling supply as positive signs of a healthy market.

Areas outside Manhattan offered the greatest beacon of hope in the survey, with residential brokers pointing to buyers increasingly focused on up-and-coming outer-borough neighborhoods.

Neither side remarked on the political climate in Washington as a concern, a change from REBNY’s third quarter survey findings. [Crain’s]Julie Strickland