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Friday, December 15, 2006

a year of growth in a changing market

NRT letter from Bruce Zipfheadroom2007 is winding down as we start looking forward to taking a break for the holidays. I was really surprised last week when our Managing Director, Scott Durkin, handed me a letter {click to enlarge} from the CEO of NRT, Corcoran's parent company, at our weekly sales meeting. It turned out to be a citation about my recent sales record. I'd finished in the top 2% of the company nation wide.

That's among 64,000 agents at the nation's largest real estate brokerage. NRT's businesses include : The Corcoran Group, City Habitats, Century 21, Caldwell Banker, and Sotheby's. It's a nice validation of the business that I've been building over the past 4 years. I began with the skills and methods of traditional, full-service brokerage; then iterated the business model to include new technologies and design services which are quite unique in the industry. My approach gives clients an edge on both sides of the transaction based on the results. My customers recognize the value and have ratified the approach. My volume of sales has more than doubled, for the second year in a row. Keeping customers satisfied is what made that happen. The numbers are just a way to keep score.

"a special achievement by any measure"
My representation has been just about evenly split between buyers and sellers in 2006, reflecting the balanced temperament of the marketplace. Every real estate transaction is a unique proposition and a huge one to the people involved, the numbers have stories to tell, but the only numbers that matter are really your own. That's why I'm here.

about the housing numbers

I guess that I'm swimming upstream. The press looked at the numbers and many saw a bubble waiting to burst. Even the NAR has conceded that nationally, housing has corrected in many parts of the country and may continue to do so. Inventory numbers have climbed in major markets where developers have broken ground on too many projects. Yet in my own experience, and the anecdotal evidence, seems to temper that picture greatly in NYC:

  • Demand is very strong where real value is perceived
  • The amount of speculative investment here is a narrow sliver of the deals
  • This week I was personally involved in two transactions which had multiple bid scenarios
  • An exclusive property had an accepted offer in just 10 days
  • An attorney's office called to ask for a extra day to get out a contract, because of the volume of work that had just come in
  • A co-broker at another agency mentioned that it had posted it's strongest November in history
In short, it just seems really busy. If I believe what I read, then the very substantial bonuses that Wall Street brokers will be receiving next quarter may largely go toward purchasing homes, helping to absorb some of the housing inventory, and frankly giving these folks a very good choice of apartments. Steady prices, consistent and likely to be spiking demand, good selection, and low mortgage rates don't sound like the things that contribute to the dire predictions of the bubble pundits. Thanks Mr. Zipf for your recognition, and thanks to my clients and customers, for theirs.