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Brokers feeling optimistic, no really!

Rising activity in real estate markets this year has residential and commercial brokers alike feeling as giddy as buyers. On the residential side broker confidence has hit new highs according to a survey by the Real Estate Board of New York, reaching a score of 8.93 out of 10.

The winter is historically a slow season for the business, but January and February have been notably busy as buyers have flooded into the market. That pressure has pushed rents to new highs, which in turn has pushed up property prices, and whetted investors’ appetites for real estate.

All this has made brokers even more sanguine about the usually busy spring market. Brokers gave the current state of the market a rating of 9.5 in the survey, while the market six months from now is expected to look even better, meriting a rating of 9.57.

The laggard in all the points covered by the survey was financing. It received only a 7.43 rating, as banks remain stingy with their loans. However, that is the best mark for financing since REBNY launched the broker survey in June 2012. At the time, brokers gave financing a mark of 6.23, while the lowest rating came in August, at 5.57.

Overwhelmingly, brokers were worried most about inventory, which is at historic lows down about 20% from five-year averages according to appraisal firm Miller Samuel Inc. This drives up the price of housing, but also constrains supply, an important factor in a commission-based business.

“Despite inventory concerns, residential brokers remain optimistic about the typically busy spring real estate market,” REBNY Senior Vice President for Research Michael Slattery said in a release.

In contrast to their residential brethren brokers on the commercial side gave the state of their market an 8.89 rating, but on the question of financing, they literally could not have been more optimistic. They gave financing a perfect ten, a survey first for any question.

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