Inman is interviewing industry thought leaders to find out what’s next in 2016. Here are Klara Madlin and Ann Ferguson of Klara Madlin Real Estate.
Are you optimistic about 2016? The economy? Why?
We are optimistic about 2016 and the economy. American debt is decreasing and consumers’ credit scores are increasing, which means that more buyers will be able to qualify for mortgage financing. Interest rates are still low, which makes it attractive to buy versus rent.
The housing market? Why?
The housing market in Manhattan is tight — rents and prices of real estate are high and inventory is low. There are a number of new developments being built and this will help to increase inventory in 2016. New York is attracting people from all over the world.
Many tech startups are finding that New York offers them exciting new opportunities. New York attracts the best and the brightest across many different industries from fashion to financial. This influx helps fuel our housing market. People in every price range need a place to live.
Your success? Why?
We are optimistic about our success in 2016 as we will have more rental and sales inventory to market in 2016. We have recently been appointed the exclusive real estate brokers for a developer and they are actively building in Upper Manhattan.
What are you worried about?
That there will continue to be a shortage of housing under $2 million and families will be driven out of the city or forced to live in apartments which they have outgrown.
How much do you fret about global events?
Worrying about global events is a waste of energy. Having lived through the World Trade Center disaster, we know how wonderful and resilient New Yorkers are. Nothing can stop us for long.
Will mortgage rates go up or down next year?
Mortgage rates will probably go up a bit next year. They will not go significantly but they have been extraordinarily low for a very long time. This will probably cause buyers who are sitting on the fence to jump into the market and buy before the interest rates increase any further.
Which market are you in?
We are in the New York City residential real estate market. We have been a successful boutique since 1984. Our niche market is middle class “regular” people, looking for a home. We sell mostly coops and condos under $2 million dollars. Our slogan is “Real Estate for Real People.”
Will unit sales go or up or down in your market?
There are many really expensive condos coming on the market (above $20 million). These units are marketed to billionaires all over the world. The global events and a glut on the market will probably cause the prices on these units to come down. The lower end of the market (under $2 million) is active, and sales on these units will stay at the current level.
Will home prices appreciate in your market next year?
The prices in the New York metropolitan market will remain at their current level and may rise slightly due to the inventory shortage but not as dramatically as they have increased in the last few years.
Will agents be more productive next year? Why? Or why not?
Our agents will be more productive next year as we have been appointed the exclusive agents for a developer with a few new buildings due to be completed in 2016.
What will be the biggest source of real estate leads next year?
Our existing client base and our referral business will be the biggest source of leads next year.
Are you making plans to expand, contract or maintain your business this year?
We are planning to hire more agents in the coming year, especially in the rental market. There are many people who cannot or do not want to buy in this market. Our business in the last two years has grown in the rental market, and we intend to continue to grow that part of our business.
What is your biggest challenge in the coming year?
Attracting, hiring and keeping good agents! Believe it or not, it is difficult to find good brokers, and we will not hire anyone who we would not personally buy, sell or rent from.