Manhattan: Soon to Be A Buyer’s Market?

That’s the conclusion Newsday draws from Tuesday’s market reports.

“It’s not a buyers’ market, but we’re close to equilibrium,” the paper quotes real-estate maven Jonathan Miller saying.

This feels a tad premature. A buyer’s market is just: more people want to sell than buy. While negotiability (let’s call that a function of what people actually pay versus how much the seller is asking, and how long people take to decide to pay it) can be a sign that sellers are outnumbering buyers, it’s just a sign.

Inventory is the thing to watch. That’s the factor that grew out of control the last time the real-estate market crashed in Manhattan. (By they way, during that “crash,” I didn’t exactly score a cheap co-op on the Upper East Side. Did you?)

It’s true that new housing seems to be going up everywhere. The information we need is: how much new housing is coming online when, and what is the projected demand for it at the time it’s scheduled to go online?

- Tom McGeveran