Broker confidence drops for third straight quarter

Interest rates top concern for resi, commercial brokers

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With uncertainty over interest rates stretching on and on, broker confidence ticked down slightly again for the third quarter in a row.

Overall confidence dropped half a point in the third quarter to 8.34 percent, according to the Real Estate Board of New York’s broker index. That’s less than a full point below the recent high of 9.22 percent at the end of 2014.

Just last week, the U.S. Federal Reserve once again delayed long-awaited action on interest rates, and the continued uncertainty is causing concern for both residential and commercial brokers, REBNY said.

“The continued, slight waning in broker confidence is largely due to the anticipation of an interest rate increase in the future for both the commercial and residential sectors,” REBNY President John Banks said in a statement released with the report. “Its potential impact on the job market and local, national and global economies have given brokers pause, though they remain positive on the real estate market overall.”

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In addition to interest rates, residential brokers cited concerns over a lack of inventory, particularly in Upper Manhattan rentals and, on the sales side, two- and three-bedroom apartments. Brokers did note, however, that Brooklyn and Long Island City are experiencing inventory booms. The residential index dipped less than half a point to 7.83 percent.

On the commercial side, fears over the national and international economies as well as the CRE financing market led to a confidence index of 8.85 percent, down from 9.47 percent last quarter.

Looking ahead six months from now, overall confidence is at 7.87 percent, which REBNY said is the lowest since it started the index in 2013. – Rich Bockmann