Realty Check

Bear Stearns Bailout "Falls" On Manhattan Real Estate Market

You have to ask the question: can the up-‘til-now untouchable Manhattan real estate market survive under the weight of Wall Street’s banking implosion? With all those Bear Stearns folks suddenly seeing their stock-based bonuses disintegrate into nothing and credit and capital fleeing the building at an alarming rate, are those priciest of pricey pads going to be able to hold their value?

As usual, the answer depends on location and price point. Remember one thing: there is limited supply in Manhattan and the city’s troubles of previous real estate downturns (high crime, filth and economic issues in the city’s own coffers) don’t exist today. Demand is high and that is the core of the Big Apple’s ability to survive this.

That said, some sectors will take a hit, and by that I mean the lower million-dollar ranges, i.e. the 1-2 bedrooms, the $1-2 millions. We’re seeing that already, even on the heady Upper East Side. As for the highest of the high end, well you can thank the crashing dollar for its survival.

More and more agents are telling me that in Manhattan, as well as in the other most chic plots of the land of the free, foreign investors are coming in to scoop up what for them are relative bargains. Palm Beach, Aspen, and of course Manhattan are the proud beneficiaries of a free flow of foreign cash.

In Manhattan, anecdotally, I’m told that Italian and Russian buyers are topping the list, but even in the Washington Post over the weekend there was a big article on foreigners investing in DC real estate; the couple profiled were from Spain. So the result is, thank goodness the high-end doesn’t lose value, but with that accept the fact that more pieces of the American landscape are falling out of American hands.

Questions?  Comments?