COVID Vaccines a Real Shot in the Arm for NYC Brokers: Survey

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The coronavirus vaccines being administered have real estate brokers gaining confidence in the city’s market for the first time in months, the Real Estate Board of New York found.

Broker confidence in the fourth quarter of 2020 was 4.35 out of 10, a 41 percent increase compared to the previous quarter, according to REBNY. It’s the first increase in the measure since the first quarter of 2020’s record drop.

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“Broker confidence rebounding at the end of 2020 illustrates that the industry has an increasingly positive view that we can overcome the immediate challenges we face, including vaccinating all New Yorkers, getting New Yorkers back to work, and boosting our economy,” REBNY President James Whelan said in a statement. “Increasing access to rapid testing sites and a successful rollout of vaccinations will be critical in determining how quickly business and economic activity can expand in the short term.”

The report found that brokers think the real estate market has already bottomed out and is on the way to recovery, with confidence in the future at 5.07 in Q4 2020, a 44 percent increase from the previous quarter.

Residential brokers had the largest gains in confidence between the third and fourth quarter, with the measure seeing a 45 percent increase, to 5.81, according to REBNY. Commercial brokers’ confidence jumped 34 percent, to 2.89 in that time.

As the pandemic spread throughout the city early last year, eventually leading the state to halt in-person tours of offices and apartments, brokers’ confidence fell to 3.72, the lowest since REBNY started the measure in 2012.

The second and third quarter of 2020 continued to break the record, with confidence falling to 3.30 and 3.08, respectively.

A residential broker told REBNY that part of the reason for the renewed optimism in the city’s real estate was caused by properties that have sat on the market for months and are now getting multiple offers.

“There seems to be a sense that the worst is over, and that things will begin to improve in the market over the coming months, the broker said.