Condos as Investment, Condos as Condos, and the Hazard of Projecting National Trends Onto NYC

Investing in Manhattan real estate - NYC condosInvestors have always played a big part in the Manhattan real estate market. Which, given that Manhattan condominiums remain one of the premier real estate investments this side of the private island, makes plenty of sense. But while investors hoovering up NYC condominiums isn't news, the number of investors currently buying up Manhattan condos -- and the percentage of the Manhattan condo market that those investors currently represent -- is looking more and more like news. And in this moderately slow and still-recovering Manhattan condominium marketplace, investors are making a bigger impact than ever. Which is nice, but what impact will it have on those -- to take one example -- who are browsing Upper East Side condominium listings less to find an investment than in hopes of actually moving to the Upper East Side?

Price-wise, the early indications are that the impact will be minimal, at least relative to how it will play in Peoria. While a survey by real estate firm Move Inc. found that investors "will be more active than typical home buyers by 3:1" in the months to come, a plurality of respondents projected that national condo prices will remain the same over the next six months to a year. Investors are known for paying cash, which means that the average home buyer will have to face much more competition when they are looking to purchase. Sellers are always (and justifiably) temped by cash payments and often offer significant discounts to buyers who are willing to pay all of the money up front.

Regular home buyers, especially first-time home buyers, often need to take out mortgages so that they can afford their homes. The time that it takes for these buyers to get a mortgage also provides investors with more time to purchase homes and take them off the market. This is not necessarily all bad news. For those that are looking to sell their condos it means that there are many active investors, willing to pay cash. This scene has been playing out in the New York Condo market as well as in housing markets throughout the United States. In Manhattan, investors now are compromising a larger-than-ever share of the condo market, which leaves home buyers with fewer options than they have had in the past. Still, there's always a reason to pause when projecting national trends onto the Manhattan real estate market. While the greater presence of investors in the broader, national home market will probably be reflected in the Manhattan condo market, Manhattan real estate is now -- and always has been -- a very different thing than, say, Long Island real estate. That's part of why people want to live here -- and, to bring it full circle, part of why Manhattan condominiums remain the blue-chip investment that they are, whether they're being bought by investors or people who just want to live in a Manhattan condominium.