Believe it or not, a bad real estate market can make you happy

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How much total do you plan to tip the building staff this year?

Last week's second-quarter real-estate market reports offered few surprises:  Seasonal spring bounce notwithstanding, values in Manhattan slid by as much as 25% over last year, while the number of transactions plummeted by more than half.

This clearly stinks for anyone trying to sell. And declining flip-tax revenues are crimping the bottom line of every building that came to rely on them during the heady boom days.

But look closer and you may discover a quality-of-life dividend or two.

Chances are you haven’t needed your noise-canceling headphones as much as you did a year ago, because fewer apartments changing hands means fewer renovations.
And even people staying put are more likely to choose iPhones over new kitchens.   That’s a huge peace dividend for the entire building.  

So is the dialing down of class warfare.   

During the bull market, newer, wealthier buyers tended to support pricey building upgrades commensurate with their investment—often pushing them through over the yowling protests of more modestly set earlier buyers. But with everyone feeling poorer these days—and the let’s-just-shoot-our-building-in-the-foot foolhardiness of pushing flailing neighbors off a financial cliff—there are fewer calls for $200,000 landscaped roofdecks and even less support. 

Ahhh, so that's what consensus sounds like....

If you missed the market wrap-up last week, here are some links:

Articles and commentary:
Sharp price drops in Manhattan apartments (NY Times)
July State O’ the Market  (Curbed)
Manhattan Home Sales off Record 50% (The Real Deal)
Manhattan Q2 Report Thoughts (Urban Digs)

Market reports:
Prudential Douglas Elliman
Halstead/Brown Harris Stevens
The Housing Helix (podcast)