NYC Broker Confidence Hits Record Low Amidst Coronavirus Pandemic

Confidence in the real estate market for New York brokers dropped 46 percent from the end of 2019, the Real Estate Board of New York reported.


New York City brokers’ confidence in the city’s real estate market hit a record low as the coronavirus pandemic brought new leases to a grinding halt, the Real Estate Board of New York found.

Broker confidence was 3.72 out of 10 so far in the first quarter of 2020, a 46 percent decrease since the fourth quarter of 2019 and the lowest amount since REBNY started the measure in 2012.

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“With New York City as the national epicenter of this global public health crisis, it’s no surprise that, along with everyone else confronting the current humanitarian crisis, our industry is deeply shaken,” James Whelan, the president of REBNY, said in a statement. “REBNY remains confident that the hardworking men and women of our industry, and all New Yorkers, will weather this storm together, but we will need strong policies at the City, State and federal levels to get our economy back into shape and working for all those impacted by this unprecedented crisis.”

Emergency measures to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus forced most businesses to ditch the office and work remotely, retailers to shutter and restaurants and bars to switch to take-out or delivery only. Gov. Andrew Cuomo initially banned in-person viewing for brokers, but ruled that brokers can visit properties but only show them virtually.

REBNY’s report stems from its survey of brokers in its more than 17,000-member organization that asks them to rank from one to 10 a series of questions including the expectation of the current market. Commercial brokers fared the worst in REBNY with a confidence of 3.2 out of 10, a 56 percent decrease since the fourth quarter of last year, according to REBNY. 

“COVID-19 has crushed commercial real estate,” one commercial broker responded in the survey. “The retail market was slow before Coronavirus, and this enhances and expedites the upcoming recession.”

Residential brokers fared slightly better, with only a 46 percent drop to 3.72, thanks partly to the ability to show homes virtually, according to REBNY.

Despite the recent drop, REBNY’s survey found both residential and commercial brokers remained confident about New York City’s market six months from now. The report found that 4.38 out of 10 brokers felt confident about the city’s future.