NEW YORK — Pumping through this city is the knowledge and energy of millions. As the home of Wall Street and the site of the fallen World Trade Center towers, the city has shown resilience in the face of crisis and offers lessons that can be applied to the housing market as a whole, said real estate pros who spoke during a "Boom, Bust and Innovation" presentation at the Real Estate Connect conference Thursday.

"Last year was the fear factor. We could not see beyond our noses. The first quarter was dead. We started to see movement in the second quarter. We started breathing in the third. The fourth quarter was a home run. We were better in 2009’s fourth quarter than we were in 2007," said Diane Ramirez, president of Halstead Property.

NEW YORK — Pumping through this city is the knowledge and energy of millions. As the home of Wall Street and the site of the fallen World Trade Center towers, the city has shown resilience in the face of crisis and offers lessons that can be applied to the housing market as a whole, said real estate pros who spoke during a "Boom, Bust and Innovation" presentation at the Real Estate Connect conference Thursday.

"Last year was the fear factor. We could not see beyond our noses. The first quarter was dead. We started to see movement in the second quarter. We started breathing in the third. The fourth quarter was a home run. We were better in 2009’s fourth quarter than we were in 2007," said Diane Ramirez, president of Halstead Property.

Some of the drivers behind that improvement are unique to New York, panelists said, but offer hints that the economy is normalizing.

"The energy in this city (is driving demand). We have movement up, down and sideways, but (people) are moving. We’re moving back to the core buyers who we’ve always had. Wall Street is buying again. If they’re having a child, they move up. It’s much more normal," Ramirez said.

Dropping sales prices infused the market with new buyers who believe they are getting great value for their money, panelists said.

"Price came down 20 to 30 percent from the peak across the board," said Chris Meyers, chief operating officer at Houlihan Lawrence.

Buyers no longer see real estate investment as a get-rich-quick scheme, however, in contrast to the boom years.

"Now, people are buying a place to live. They’re not buying it to flip it or get rich," said Dottie Herman, president of Prudential Douglas Elliman.

In an environment in which sales prices keep changing, managing seller expectations as a real estate professional is vital, panelists said. …CONTINUED

"If it’s priced well, it will sell. You can’t force somebody (to drop their price) — you can just guide them," Herman said.

For brokerages, that also means they have changed how they do business. At Halstead, for example, Ramirez said the company went beyond letting agents choose a good price for a property by vetting that process and making it transparent.

"Each agent had to demonstrate to us that that price was a good price in that area, in that competitive field. And we put all our vetting on our Web site so the consumer knew how we were doing it. So it gave them a target. Some of our sellers said, ‘I don’t want to go there,’ but after one or two months, they’re really happy we did that," Ramirez said.

Meyers also credits social media with informing consumers about trends in the housing market.

"When you have a market that’s frozen solid and no one knows where a price should be," consumers look to the Internet, he said. His own company used to spend $2 million a year on print advertising and that number has gone down to zero, he added.

Ramirez said that 40 percent of Halstead’s advertising budget is still spent on print marketing.

"I’m sorry to say we still do (buy print advertising). We’re in transition," she said.

Prudential Douglas Elliman has turned to mobile applications for advertising, Herman said.

"I think everything is going through the Internet and handhelds. Print never sold houses anywhere. I think as a company you need a strong brand because people are going to go with a brand they’re confident with," she said.

***

What’s your opinion? Leave your comments below or send a letter to the editor. To contact the writer, click the byline at the top of the story.

Show Comments Hide Comments

Comments

Sign up for Inman’s Morning Headlines
What you need to know to start your day with all the latest industry developments
By submitting your email address, you agree to receive marketing emails from Inman.
Success!
Thank you for subscribing to Morning Headlines.
Back to top
Limited time: Get 30 days of Inman Select for $5.SUBSCRIBE×
Log in
If you created your account with Google or Facebook
Don't have an account?
Forgot your password?
No Problem

Simply enter the email address you used to create your account and click "Reset Password". You will receive additional instructions via email.

Forgot your username? If so please contact customer support at (510) 658-9252

Password Reset Confirmation

Password Reset Instructions have been sent to

Subscribe to The Weekender
Get the week's leading headlines delivered straight to your inbox.
Top headlines from around the real estate industry. Breaking news as it happens.
15 stories covering tech, special reports, video and opinion.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
It looks like you’re already a Select Member!
To subscribe to exclusive newsletters, visit your email preferences in the account settings.
Up-to-the-minute news and interviews in your inbox, ticket discounts for Inman events and more
1-Step CheckoutPay with a credit card
By continuing, you agree to Inman’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

You will be charged . Your subscription will automatically renew for on . For more details on our payment terms and how to cancel, click here.

Interested in a group subscription?
Finish setting up your subscription