The 4Q 2008 Manhattan Market Overview that I author for Prudential Douglas Elliman was released on Tuesday.

Other reports we prepare can be found here.

The 4Q 2008 [data]( and a series of updated [charts]( are also available.

All in all, well over 100 media hits covering the report (that we know about, but who’s counting) without a formal press release. Apparently there is interest in the Manhattan housing market.

An excerpt

>…At the close of the prior quarter, there was significant turmoil in the financial markets and unprecedented intervention by federal government agencies. The bailout of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and insurance giant AIG, the investor run on the money market Reserve Primary Fund and the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers, marked a significant change in the Manhattan housing market as well as the US housing market. The fourth quarter was characterized by a sharp decline in contract activity and a downward correction in contract price levels. Sales contract activity showed evidence of a decline in activity of 40% to 75% compared to the same period last year. Contract price levels showed an average decline of 20% from August 2008. As a result of the 45-60 day lag between contract and closing date, a decline is anticipated in both the number of sales and closing price levels in the first quarter of 2009…

In 2005, I began posting the links of the coverage of each report to see how each media outlet reports the market using the exact same data. I find it to be an interesting way to look at how this information is interpreted and presented.

The media coverage of the report was provided here as they were released (in no particular order). The headlines selected below provide an interesting media perspective of the report contents since every outlet was working off the same information. I didn’t include all the wire stories from AP, Bloomberg or Reuters.


* Striking Declines Seen in Manhattan Real Estate Market [NY Times]
* Manhattan’s Sterling Real-Estate Market Begins to Tarnish [WSJ]
High End Loses Lustre [London Free Press]
* Razing the Roof [NYPost]
* Fourth quarter drop in Manhattan home prices breaks 10-year streak [The Real Deal]
* Manhattan apartment prices fall, will drop further [Reuters]
* More Confirmation Real Estate Market is Tanking [Gothamist]
* Manhattan Apartment Sales Drop for Fourth Quarter [Bloomberg]
* NYC real estate defies gravity – so far [CNN/Money]
* Manhattan sales down, prices up in Q4 [Inman]
* Fourth-Quarter Market Reports: The Reckoning Begins, Sort of [NY Mag]
* 4Q Manhattan Housing Reports: Where’s That Cliff Already? [NY Observer]
* With Apartment Prices Down, is it a Buyer’s Market? [WNYC]
* City Feels Housing Pinch [NY Daily News]
* Manhattan’s existing housing prices retreat [Crain’s]
* Manhattan housing up in 4Q, but luxury market down [AP/Businessweek]
* Manhattan property [Financial Times]
* Curbed IMterview: Jonathan Miller Dishes on Q4 Numbers [Curbed]
* Fourth Quarter Market Reports: Calm Before the Storm [Curbed]


* 4Q 08 Manhattan Market recap [CNBC Squawkbox]
* US Pending Home Sales and 4Q 08 Manhattan Market recap [Bloomberg TV]
* 4Q 08 Manhattan Market recap [Bloomberg Radio] * 4Q 08 Manhattan Market recap [Fox News] will be on air on at 11:30am today with Brian Sullivan


  1. sean January 8, 2009 at 6:32 pm

    What do you think about the new Goldman report that predicts a 45-55% drop in Manhattan residential real estate?

  2. OT January 8, 2009 at 6:34 pm

    I don’t understand why there is this need to ding the Manhattan real estate market. The numbers if interpreted objectively indicate a year on year increase in PPSF, yet the headlines choose to focus on the Q4 dip (which is an established seasonal trend). It has been 3 quarters now that the press has been doing this, despite numbers continuing to tick upward. I realize that deals being done now are lower than peak prices, but there is no reliable data to back this up and the press should be reporting on established metrics, not anecdote.

  3. Jonathan J. Miller January 8, 2009 at 7:48 pm

    OT – It’s pretty silly to blame the media for the issues with housing. Rather, you need to respect the market for what it is and work with that. The tick upward was because of the surge of new development closing each successive quarter for the past year, but that doesn’t reflect current conditions at all, yet they closed and are counted in the data. No attempt to sell the market as high or low here.

  4. Jonathan J. Miller January 8, 2009 at 8:12 pm

    Sean – I haven’t seen the report. Know where I can get it?

  5. sean January 9, 2009 at 1:25 pm

    There was a link yesterday on curbed, I think.

  6. Jonathan J. Miller January 9, 2009 at 4:45 pm

    Thank Sean – actually I found it:

    It’s interesting because it places all its weight on CSI. This is worthy of an expanded blog post shortly because of its simplicity. Thanks for the idea!

  7. sumter January 10, 2009 at 3:49 am

    Intresting post, Its hard to believe manhattan real estate could drop that much? Its basically the world capital for everything

  8. OT January 10, 2009 at 12:39 pm

    JM – I wasn’t dogging your analysis, which I have followed for 5 years now and think is fantastic. I just think the headlines in the papers are misleading, that’s all. I certainly don’t blame them for any weakness in the market, although I think it would be foolish to think they don’t have some influence. I remember listing our previous apartment in Feb 07, following a weak Q4 06. We were extremely nervous, but the weekend before our first open house, the NY Times ran a massive article about the strength of the NYC market. We had 3 offers within the first hour of showing, all above asking. I fully credit our success to that article, and don’t think it is off base to credit some of the sour buyer sentiment to articles in major publications.

  9. angler7 January 10, 2009 at 12:54 pm

    Jonathan – Kudos for all your work in tracking the Manhattan market. Seems we are now enduring the effects as our roller coaster accelerates along the big drop.

    I note that your co-op/condo listing inventory figures have been revised upwards, at least when I compare the current 3Q08 and 4Q07 figures against the archived reports; and by a quick eyeball of your updated chart that extends back to 4Q00. What is the rationale for the increases? Also, is it possible for you to include Inventory in your Data Search Engine?


  10. OT January 10, 2009 at 1:05 pm

    JM – Agree with you on all points. Not to belabor my previous point, and this is the last I will say on it, but I would have hoped to see more articles like the one posted on CNN Money ( I think this provides a more fair/balanced account based on the data available. I found most of the other articles to engage in sensationalizing the [at long last, renters] softness of the market.

    Angler 7 – in addition to JMs data, provides reasonably accurate inventory numbers, and Noah at Urbandigs provides great analysis.

  11. Jonathan J. Miller January 10, 2009 at 12:51 pm

    Thanks OT – I agree with you – it clearly does influence sentiment – a perpetual tug of war between positive and negative.

    However, I do think the influence is already “baked” in to up and down cycles than the general agent sentiment of “but this time its worse.” Thats a market phenomenon we have to live and work with. It sort of like a politician trotting their family on stage during an election time and time again as a prop and then criticizing the media when one of their family members gets in trouble and the media jumps on the opportunity.

    Sorry for being more offline than online for the past month and again thanks for being a loyal reader.

  12. Jonathan J. Miller January 10, 2009 at 1:05 pm

    Thanks angler7! Yes – I have been collecting the data using 2 different methodologies for years but presented them in only one way – this quarter I opted to permanently switch because I believe the results are more reliable and I updated all my historical. The trends are nearly identical, only now there is a little more data. Sorry for the confusion. At some point, I’ll probably create a longer timeline chart. I won’t likely insert it within the engine.

  13. angler7 January 10, 2009 at 2:09 pm

    Thanks JM. I am curious if this alternative methodology requires a different perspective on historical absorption rates. Anyway, I’ll just guesstimate on the historical stuff and update accordingly based on your subsequent quarterlies.

    OT – Thanks for the suggestions. I have in fact scrutinized the StreetEasy figures since they produced their first report in 2Q08. Some initial inconsistencies, but they are doing a fine job. I also follow Noah’s work and consider his macro observations an important perspective.

  14. Jonathan J. Miller January 10, 2009 at 1:10 pm

    OT – point taken. Your insight is one of the reasons I present the market report in the post like this with all the articles side by side – for the reader to judge the media reporting tendencies in the context of others.

    They all get the same information. In fairness, there is often a disconnect between the article title and the content. And often thats not the reporters call, its their respective editors.

  15. angler7 January 10, 2009 at 3:10 pm

    Thanks JM. I am curious as to how this alternative methodology might reconsider historical absorption rates.

    OT – Thanks for the suggestions. I have in fact scrutinized the StreetEasy figures since their initial 2Q08 report. Some initial inconsistencies, but they are doing a fine job. I also follow Noah’s blog and find his observations on macro issues an important perspective.

  16. angler7 January 10, 2009 at 3:40 pm

    Apologies for the repeat post. I didn’t see my first one hit, so tried again an hour later.

  17. Jonathan J. Miller January 13, 2009 at 12:11 pm

    Hey Sean – I finally got around to analyzing the Goldman note.

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