It’s never a good idea to make too much of one week’s real estate sales activity, and most brokers already tend to view their market’s glass as half full. But news that the week ending Sunday was the biggest for contracts signed on luxury properties since the collapse of Lehman Brothers ought to at least raise the question: Could the New York residential market be experiencing a turning point in sales activity?
“I think there’s a lot of optimism,” says Donna Olshan, head of the boutique brokerage firm Olshan Realty Inc., which compiled the data. She reports 31 contracts signed on properties with asking prices of $4 million or more in the week ending Feb. 13 — the highest weekly tally since Lehman went under in Sept. 2008.
There are plenty of reasons to consider this a statistical fluke. The snow and cold weather could have postponed some signings until last week. Many Wall Street bonuses were paid in the first few weeks of the year, generating demand among wealthy bankers that’s unlikely to be repeated in the months ahead.
And as Olshan points out, the previous post-Lehman weekly high was 27 contracts for luxury properties during the week ending Nov. 22, 2009. That proved to be an isolated surge in activity for what otherwise was a pretty grim year.