As a maven, devotee, fan, fanatic, aficionado, supporter, and all around nut-bag with all things “Center City Condos”, I believe I am aptly centered to give my opinion on the subject. Some human beings can cite sports scores and statistics of their favorite sports teams or players, and simply confound you with their knowledge. My sport happens to be Philadelphia condominiums. Go figure. Here is what I believe is happening in our market as of 1/1/08…..
The fall 2007 market, duplicating the fall market of 2006, literally sucked. Best described as a period of time that saw the influx of bad press, and potential bubbles, we saw buyers stand by the sidelines and basically wait things out. Not unexpected. We still had buyers coming into town who had sold their previous residences elsewhere, and we did see an average amount of transferees move into town. But the buyers who really didn’t need to buy? They stood waiting on the sidelines. Not out of the picture, but not in a ready willing and able position to pull the trigger on that new condo sale. I saw it not only in a lack of sales within the Philadelphia realtor community, but also in the new construction high rise sales staff who would often question me as to the market- I guess to make sure that they weren’t the only game in town that happened to be stagnant. Inventories around town have continued to increase, and sellers began to get a bit itchy. Itchy to individual sellers translates into a lowering of prices, or an increase of commissions. Itchy to big developers and new construction folks means increased incentives from free flat screen TV’s to free upgrades within the condo units.
They say all real estate is local. I agree. The subprime mortgage mess, and the foreclosures that seem to be swallowing towns like Detroit and Des Moines, hasn’t seemed to affect our market. However, the emotional impact does resonate. Buyers are a bit more cautious, and are just hanging out, without any real wind blowing their sales needs at this time. Ditto for sellers. We are not seeing a lot of new product (in terms of individual sellers) coming on the market.
As far as the new year is concerned, I see a lot of room for optimism. What doesn’t happen in the latter part of the year, happens in the new year. It appears that the Philadelphia condominium market will duplicate its behavior of 2007- A strong first nine months, then dead.
Those buyers who have been waiting by the sidelines will jump into the market. They now realize that perhaps the “sky isn’t falling” as earlier predicted, and they buy and sell. Happened the same way in 2006. And I can tell already by the number of people who are visiting my site, the length of time they stay on the site, and number of return visitors, and the number of those who ask for additional information, or say they are now ready to shop for their new Philadelphia condo.
Prudential Fox and Roach REALTORS®
530 Walnut St., Suite 260 Philadelphia, PA 19106