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Manhattan Apartments: the higher dollar rate, the lower demand

Thursday, 30 April 2009

manhattan apartmentsNot so long ago there was a great boom for the elite real estate in New York. When prices for real estate eased till incredible level throughout America, the same was persistently climbing up for apartments in Manhattan. In 2007 prices for housing in Detroit were even lower than prices for cars; the cost of flats there was compared with the price of a good thoroughbred cow, while an apartment in Manhattan averaged USD 1,37 million and it was still growing.

In 2008 prices for Manhattan apartments increased for 41%, yet the median price turned USD 1 million.

Such situation looks peculiar and paradoxical only at a first glance. The point is Manhattan apartments were purchased by people other than Americans. Elite real estate drew attention of foreign investors. As soon as dollar went falling and there occurred an interesting exchanges difference against Euro and GBP. Due to such exchange difference the cost of Manhattan housing decreased as compared with the same housing in London and other capital of the world (for instance, real estate value in Paris had 100% rise that time, and in Manhattan  it was falling, and considering the exchange difference, the price increased in USD value only. Besides, developers afraid of slowdown and drop of currency initiated offering significant discounts (15-20%) that made investments to Manhattan real estate more attractive.

The interest of foreign buyers of Manhattan flats totaled almost 50% in 2008, while in 2007 it was 10%, not more. And foreign investors were greatly concerned about elite apartments. The average price for an apartment with three to four bedrooms in the upper eastern part of Manhattan (the most privileged part of Manhattan) reached 6-7million dollars (breakthrough made 17%), while the same apartment in the less privileged part of Manhattan cost approximately USD 4,6 million (breakthrough made about 46%).

Invasion of foreign purchaser towards the American real estate facilitated some experts to make timid proposals that investors from abroad will help the country to overcome with the crisis. A strong demand for Manhattan apartments specially inspired by the same strong price increase in the latter. Other experts found the situation oppressive when foreign investors support the market of housing in America.

Yet, the situation remained stable for Manhattan even during the crisis peak (in September previous year). Banks were breaking down, people were dismissed in mass, and 91 elite apartments were sold in the housing complex Cipriani Club Residences that is located in the Financial District (round the Wall Street which residents are those who live on this street), and in total there 106 luxury apartments in this complex. While employees of banks out of business were tearing their hair, the penthouse in the Setai - in the same Financial District - was successfully sold for USD 7,82 million.

The better part of apartments in Manhattan was sold as investments with the purpose of further lease. Thus, approximately 90% of apartments in Pine complex (Financial District, de luxe apartments).

Currently, when dollar takes its positions back, the Manhattan apartments became less popular. Yet, experts predict that flourishing at the market of Manhattan real estate will come to end along with appreciation of dollar, since this flourishing is conditioned by foreign investments, while exchange rate difference will become far less. Besides, ‘foretellers' in the market of real estate predict  high dismissal of Wall-Street employees, especially of such a ‘payroll category' who can afford such a luxury apartment in the most fashionable district of New York close to work place.

Though developers appear to mistrust the dollar convertibility and still go on offering discount pricing for Manhattan apartments. Their mission is to sell the real estate available within the nearest half a year, while the average sales term now makes about eight months (against four months in the latest period), and the experts assure that this term will be extended (particularly, Mark Harvey, Head of Investigation Department in the sphere if international projects of the Agency on the sale of elite real estate, is of the same opinion)  who thinks that «new projects in expensive regions may face deficit of demand and time».

Growth in dollar brought to the shift in priorities of foreign investors. Currently they are more interested in reliability of houses and good neighbors rather than in elite apartments in Manhattan. The Times suggests that ‘foreign investors pay their attention to Lower East Side as the region quite cheap to attract students, ex-hippies and those for whom this is the first housing'. From all opinions, the demand for elite apartments in Manhattan will decrease, and thus prices will get lower. Though, if dollar scrawls down again, the situation may change.

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