New York City resi brokers see tilt toward normal after Labor Day lull

Market shows signs of calibration after two turbulent years, brokers say

From left: Serhant’s Ariel Mahgerefteh; Compass' Boris Sharapan Fabrikant; Brown Harris Stevens' Steven Marvisch; and William Raveis Mortgage's Melissa Cohn (Getty Images, Compass, Serhant, William Raveis Mortgage, LinkedIn/Steven Marvisch)
From left: Serhant’s Ariel Mahgerefteh; Compass' Boris Sharapan Fabrikant; Brown Harris Stevens' Steven Marvisch; and William Raveis Mortgage's Melissa Cohn (Getty Images, Compass, Serhant, William Raveis Mortgage, LinkedIn/Steven Marvisch)

The seasons are changing in New York City.

This year’s Labor Day weekend not only ushered students back to school and more of Wall Street back to the office, but also a breeze of normalcy to residential market, capping off a summer slog under economic uncertainty and record low inventory. After two years of a boom-and-bust cycle, brokers and mortgage experts say the market is showing signs of returning to its pre-pandemic seasons.

“The cycles we’re accustomed to disappeared and we’re in a situation where there’s no predictability,” Compass broker Boris Sharapan Fabrikant said. “Those kinds of unusual market patterns I think are behind us and we’re getting back to the norm.”

Brokers said they’ve seen a seasonal uptick in interest over listings. While not a solid market index like contract signings or sales, brokers like Serhant’s Ariel Mahgerefteh say it’s a marked difference from the drought he weathered earlier this summer.

“I’m definitely feeling more of an in-flow,” he said, explaining that his listings across the city are all seeing more inquiries. “This is not a coincidence, maybe one is a coincidence, but not on three to four properties.”

The trend is anecdotal for now, as it’s unclear if more inquiries will lead to a sustained rebound in contracts and live data isn’t available. But Melissa Cohn, a mortgage banker at William Raveis Mortgage, said the market is steadily resurfacing from “a very different world” brought on by the pandemic.

“We have to start going back to comparing things to the summer of 2019, 2018,” she said. “I think we have to learn to take the two and a half years of Covid out of the numbers crunching.”

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Brown Harris Stevens broker Steven Marvisch said optimism had been mounting in recent months after the Federal Reserve’s historic interest rate hike in July “knocked the wind out of everyone’s sales.”

Labor Day didn’t bring much relief in the way of economic indicators, leaving buyers and sellers up against brewing market conditions that could throw their plans out of whack.

Mortgage rates hit six percent for the first time since 2008 this week, and Sept. 13 marked the stock market’s suffered worst day since 2020 after the Labor Department published higher than expected inflation numbers.

The headlines are hard to ignore for hopeful homebuyers. Marvisch said the development left him wondering if consumer confidence had been shaken enough to cause buyers to pull back.

For now, Cohn is optimistic about the market’s new normal.

“I’m totally bullish on the real estate market, I just think it’s going back to a more traditional velocity,” she said. “The music’s not going to stop, you’re just not dancing as fast as you can anymore.”