Is Now the Best Time to Buy an Apartment?

That's a great question, and it's one I happen to be asked all the time. There are numerous elements of this question which really have to be considered. Are you asking about seasonality? For instance, is it better to buy in the winter time as opposed to the summer time? Or are you simply asking about the current state of New York City's real estate market? Let's address all these questions here.

Should I buy an apartment in the winter or the summer?

It depends. Buying in the winter time, although potentially inconvenient because of the cold weather, is the time that you might be able to score the best deals. During the winter, the market quiets down a bit and the number of buyers with whom you'll be competing will be greatly reduced. This may result in slight price drops and greater opportunity for you to negotiate the price. As exciting of an opportunity this may seem, not nearly enough people are willing to take advantage. Remember, if you shop during the winter, you'll most likely be closing on the apartment during the spring. Perfect timing!

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On the flip side, summer time apartment hunting can be advantageous because there is significantly more inventory to choose from during this time of year. During the winter, some buyers and brokers are hesitant to list because of the weaker buyer demand, resulting in listings appearing in the spring and summer instead. However, during the summer you have to be prepared with to compete with many more buyers, which generally reduces your leverage to negotiate pricing. In fact, you may find yourself having to outbid other buyers, pushing up the price of your desired property beyond what you were initially expecting to pay for it.

Should I buy an apartment in 2018?

It really depends on whether you can afford such a purchase. To mull over an apartment purchase as if you were a speculator waiting on the sidelines for the right pricing to appear is a fool's errand when it comes to NYC real estate. Ultimately, this attitude will keep you from ever buying and ensure that you'll become a perpetual renter, and that is absolutely okay! Buying isn't for everyone.

New York City continues to be one of the best investments for domestic and international buyers alike, who have their choice from thousands of condos and co-ops. The key is simply to decide whether homeownership is in your cards, and whether you have the means both from an income and asset perspective to fund such a purchase. My philosophy has always been that if you are in a place where you can afford the purchase of property, there is a deal to be had somewhere. However, waiting for prices to deflate won't happen.

Prices may stop their rapid growth trajectory and may even flatline in some instances. However, you only see dramatic price cuts in the ultra-luxury market, which happen to be the same type of events which cause publications to sensationalize that New York City real estate in a pricing bubble. Nobody can guarantee what 2018 will bring for the city's real estate market, but properties will continue to be bought and sold at prices that seem out of reach for many, but that shouldn't stop you from purchasing if you have the means.

What about the impact of Trump's tax plan?

There has been much said about how the President's tax reform plan will impact the New York real estate market. Questions have arisen as to whether a reduction in mortgage interest deductions and real estate tax deductions will significantly hamper the market. While buyers may miss out on several thousand dollars worth of potential annual benefit related to real estate deductions, there will likely be other components in the tax reform that will benefit tax filers and even things out. Either way, buyers of NYC real estate won't be swayed by this change in IRS policy. Buyers will still acknowledge that the benefits of buying still greatly outweigh any of these proposed changes.

Overall

New York City real estate continues to be dynamic market. One thing that makes this city truly special is that there are price points available for buyers in all price ranges. You can buy a studio on the Upper East Side for $350,000 or a brand new development condo for $10 million, and you might still be a few blocks from one another. Wherever you fall on the spectrum, remember that the choice for buying or renting is yours alone, and you may have very good reasons for pursuing one over the other.