Manhattan Housing Descent Has Begun

Jul. 2.09 | About: iShares U.S. (IYR)

The expansive staff here at Running of the Bulls have been of the opinion that if the national residential housing market was not at the bottom, then it is closing in on one.

However, we have been at pains to note that even though the national data may be in the process of bottoming, the regional data bore wide disparities. Florida and California, for example, were probably at a bottom. Manhattan, however, was just at the beginning of their descent.

And now, the Manhattan descent has begun.

Manhattan apartment prices dropped for the first time since 2002 in the second quarter as the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. and Bear Stearns Cos. caught up to property owners in the nation’s most expensive urban market.

The median price fell 18.5 percent from a year earlier to $835,700, New York appraiser Miller Samuel Inc. and broker Prudential Douglas Elliman Real Estate said today. The number of sales plunged by half, the most since Miller Samuel began keeping data in 1989.

A significant decline in Manhattan is inevitable, in my humble opinion. Bad for those living there, good for everyone else. The roadmap for the national/international housing collapse has its end when the last market standing falls. As every student of market history knows, in a severe bear market, the bear mauls everyone. Nobody is spared.

For the bear market in housing to end, Manhattan apartment prices had to fall. That is now happening. And unfortunately for those in New York, it still has some ways yet to go.