I have spoken in the past week to two people about Florida real estate-a good friend's father who was back for the holidays from Boca Raton and a new Facebook friend in Miami, named Scott Klein, also a realtor (lots of other things in common as well). My friend's father commented how many stores are out of business, how malls sit vacant and how even in Boca Raton prices have declined greatly. Scott told me about how many foreclosures and short sales there are-not news to anyone reading newspapers or following the web.
Although we have seen some price declines, New York prices have stayed stable, especially in Brooklyn where I do most of my business. One difference between Florida and New York is that land in New York is generally finite and we have real zoning laws. In today's New York Times there is a piece about development in Miami, Florida which highlights the lack of real zoning. High-rise condominiums are built right next to single family houses without any regard for maintaining the character of the neighborhood. New York has much stricter zoning in places and many neighborhoods such as Bay Ridge where I live, have very restrictive zoning guidelines, in order to preserve the character of the community. In addition, coop apartment sales have limited the number of financially inappropriate buyers, as these buyers could not pass in a coop board. In most of the rest of the country, these buyers were offered mortgages that they could never afford, often with quickly adjusted rates. Although there was blame to be shared by many, this practice resulted in artificially generated demand for ownership housing and fueled an unsustainable new construction boom, the after-effects we witness in many communities across the United States.
New York remains a desirable to live for so many. Although housing costs are high-the rewards are great. Crime remains very low-the restaurants, culture and night life thrive. Schools have improved. We still have a ways to go, to build more affordable housing and get parents more involved in education. We live in a great city and it remains great and people come from all over the world to have the experience of living here. And many of those people choose Brooklyn over Manhattan.
I do not have a crystal ball but I do think buying in New York City remains a wise investment for years to come. We all must remain vigilant to improve the quality of life here. But as Liza most famouly sang, "If you can make it here...." And Jay-Z and Alicia Keys echo today. New York and Brooklyn remain great places to live today.