January 2018: Happy 2018!

Happy New Year! It’s the season for new beginnings. New resolutions to break (don’t feel guilty, there’s always next year) and for some, new homes to find. Read on for the trends we’re seeing in life and real estate and what to expect in the market going into 2018.

The Story: The 2018 Outlook

The Jump Off
As 2017 was winding to a close, our team came together to take stock and discuss what we wanted out of 2018 both for ourselves and for our clients. We discussed our past accomplishments — old jobs, old awards. I realized goals and accolades are just markers along the way. They help measure our progress and allow us to celebrate milestones. But what really matters are not so much the astounding numbers but the people we’ve helped, the lives we’ve changed. In this new year, we’ve simply resolved to make 2018 the year everyone finds their place in the world.
The Process
We started by identifying the trends we’re seeing now both in real estate and in life. One of our first trend conclusions: less is more. We all struggle to find more family and me-time. Whether we’re designing our next vacation, furnishing our home or shopping for a new outfit, we are beyond the all-you-can-eat buffet vacations and generic high-end products. We want things and experiences that are simple, functional and, above all, personal to us. Maybe that means your next vacation will be a tailor-made excursion to somewhere off the beaten track, or maybe your new go-to outfit is an athleisure set incorporating a personal touch of Ultra Violet (Pantone’s Color of the Year 2018). Speaking of personal, home automation is big this year. Alexa and her friends have already been running your lights, a/c, appliances and even your security system. They’re only getting busier, going to work where you don’t want to. I mean, who really wants to climb four flights of stairs just to tell the kids it’s time for dinner? What we do want to shout about? People’s rights. Clearly, 2018 will go down in history as the year to speak up. As we leave behind the old status quo, people seem to be turning away from the gloom and doom of 2017. Consumer confidence is up, job growth has continued, and folks are watching midterm elections and planning ahead for 2020.

The Wrap Up
There’s a lot to take in. Just as we’ve culled some of the biggest trends moving into 2018, we’ve worked even harder over the last few months to help you cut through the noise, spend more time on what matters to you instead of turning real estate into another full-time job. Going in to this new year, we pledge to provide you with the best service in real estate and to make the process simple, personalized, and worry-free. And, if we’ve helped you, if we’ve impressed you, please tell your friends. Our mission is to help you (and your network) find your place in the world.

The Conversation Cheat Sheet

Want the lowdown on real estate trends of 2018?
2017 closed with much anticipated softness. The average sales price fell in the fourth quarter below $2M in Manhattan, the lowest year-end level in two years, while the number of year-end closings sank to 2011 levels (this after years of constant increase). On the other hand, the fourth quarter showed increased activity for co-op and condo resales within the $1M-$3M price segment as buyers rushed to lock-in the full $1M mortgage interest deduction on new mortgage originations. This means that the fourth quarter potentially absorbed 2018 demand, resulting in a slower than usual start to the new year. And what about Brooklyn? Sales prices declined in the North (aka Williamsburg) and Northwest (think from Brooklyn Heights to Park Slope) regions, while the South and East saw price increases. Check out the Compass Markets app for instant access to the most recent transaction data as well as historic sales trends by neighborhood to get the true picture. 
The co-op market bounced back in 2017, a trend most likely to continue in 2018 as buyers are more price sensitive, while the luxury market showed the biggest disconnect between buyers and sellers. New development prices reflective of contracts signed two or three years ago have, for some time now, skewed market reporting upward. Buyers are fully aware, however, that increased inventory leads to choices. Pairing that with a lack of certainty, we do expect downward price pressure in the luxury segment in 2018. 
And although it’s too soon to tell what impact the new tax law will have on our housing market in 2018, we predict that there will always be demand for dwellings in the Big Apple. Sellers might have to practice more patience, though. Buyers will also need to realize that although this is a buyer’s moment, the pendulum has not swung to post-Lehman reaches.
Tenants and landlords will continue to face off over concessions in 2018. Tenants will have the upper hand more often than not but should keep in mind that interest rates are going up so delayed homeownership might end up costing more in the long run. 
When your sister takes two hours to choose an outfit…
Having commitment issues? If you’re redecorating, cardboard furniture might be right up your alley. Speaking of which, the number one design trend on Pinterest? Wall art! Finally a trend everyone can get behind. So go plaster your walls with pictures — just make sure to spackle all those holes when it’s time to move. And apparently subway tiles are out — so 2017. While this trend is still living large in most New Yorkers’ daily commutes, other trends like ’70’s chic are on the rise. And although for some of us this brings back memories of our childhood, it’s worth checking out.
Now that you have feeling back in your toes after gallivanting around on New Year’s Eve…
This winter is shaping up to be one of the coldest in recent memory. If you’re brave enough to venture out, try snowshoeing, skiing or other winter fun at the NYC Winter Jam in Central Park or visit some visually stunning outdoor installations like the illuminated Whiteout installation that has taken on new life against the backdrop of snow. The Public Art Fund has two current outdoor projects — one exploring the global migration crisis while the other is a scaled-down recreation of the redwood forests. Need to get even further outside? Try one of the many winter carnivals around New York State.
Rather stay indoors? Never Built New York at the Queens Museum will allow you to explore the different paths the city could have taken and imagine what the city could be in the future. Or go get two-for’s during Broadway Week. If you would like to bring the indoors out, you can enjoy some drinks in an Alpine yurt at The Standard in the East Village. Or, if your fur baby needs some TLC, maybe visit NYC’s very first dog café!
And even if you’ve done it before, Chinese New Year is the ultimate fun street party. The Chinese New Year Parade and Firecracker Festival in downtown Manhattan are both worth checking out.

The Gabriele Moment

Here’s what I’ve been up to these past few weeks as I walk, bike and race between the bridges and the parks.

Mindfully New York
Over eggs benedict and skim milk lattes, I caught up with a client of mine over the holiday break. “I love brownstone living,” she told me, “but since moving to North Park Slope, it’s been a challenge getting to know my neighbors. I’m single, I don’t have children, or a dog, so the opportunities for meeting new people are limited to yoga classes and grocery shopping.” Her story was different from the ones I’ve heard from so many others, but I knew she was not alone in that sentiment. And then, an idea was born of how we could give back to the community. We could connect all the wonderful people we’ve met over the last ten years and help them find their place in the world. As a first step, we’re launching a new segment called “Mindfully New York” that will explore the question of what home means to you. Is it a place to sleep? A part of the American Dream? Or simply a space to just be you? Our clients, colleagues and friends have been answering these questions and we’ll be sharing their stories with you. Get inspired by our network of wonderful people and get the chance to reach out to our contributors directly. Want to give back? Share your home story with us and get the chance to connect and become a deeper part of your community.

They Said It

“As newbies to buying, especially in a market as daunting as New York real estate, it was reassuring to have Gabriele on our team. She was our secret weapon in finding and securing the apartment of our dreams. She was our voice of reason and our faithful advisor. She cared not only that the sale was made but also that we were happy throughout the entire process. “ ~ C B and JK, buyer

Don’t take my word for it! Read more independent reviews of my services from members of Park Slope Parents.

Giving Back to the Community is the Greatest Gift of All

Andrea Preziotti, a corporate ghostwriter, is the founder of Modern Vintage Ink, LLC a Park Slope-based business that provides copywriting and business curation services; Andrea gives back to the community by participating in the Park Slope Parents Perks Program.

In 2017, Americans spent $130.6 trillion (!) on goods and services. That’s a lot of money. As consumers lean toward increased consumption of fast-goods, a new social movement is underway to save durable goods from the landfill. The Buy Nothing Project is a spend-less community effort practiced world-wide that encourages participants to “Buy Nothing, Give Freely, Share Creatively.” It takes the ‘one person’s trash, another person’s treasure’ to another level, engaging the community to ask for what they need and give to others what they don’t. 
As the concept of purging has become a hot topic, I decided to give Buy Nothing a try. I was intrigued by the idea of recycling used goods, and building a community around sustainability. I love brownstone living, but since moving to North Park Slope, it’s been a challenge getting to know my neighbors. As a single woman with no children or a dog, the opportunities for meeting new people is limited to yoga classes and grocery shopping. But as a member of Buy Nothing BoCoCa, I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know its members while exploring Park Slope and its surrounding neighborhoods: Boerum Hill, Cobble Hill, and Carroll Gardens. 
The process of purging can be daunting, but once you get started, it feels fantastic. Kind of like a new diet but with faster results. I started with my closet, tackling the section filled with clothing I hadn’t touched in years, some still with tags attached. I then moved to the extra ‘baggage’ from my childhood home, objects I’d kept out of obligation, most of which were just collecting dust. And soon I was posting everything from books to promotional apparel from former employers, kitchen accessories, inherited furniture that no longer matched my tastes or aesthetic, and an excess of decorations, souvenirs, and gifts. 
It was liberating to cleanse my home, both literally and figuratively. Purging not only rids your space of unnecessary clutter but your mind, too. The exercise itself comes with a new perspective on shopping. Online shopping in particular, with their dash buttons and voice assistants, makes it too easy to blindly click and purchase. Now that I’ve rid myself of things I no longer need, I find myself rethinking my wish list and considering what I bring into my space (and if I really need it). The process also has me thinking about items I’ve saved to my shopping cart and most importantly, if the group will be able to provide them instead. 
The best part of participating in the Buy Nothing project is the giving and receiving benefits of belonging to a community; that alone has been the greatest gift of all. 
The Buy Nothing Project operates in five of the seven continents, find a local group or learn how to start your own.

We love hearing from our nuclear families, downtown hipsters, animal-friendly citizens, and our eco-conscious dwellers. All the movers, shakers and transplants. The Gabriele Sewtz Team aims to reinvent what it takes to make the real estate journey effortless. And in doing so, aligns with the Compass vision of helping others find their place in this world. It can be a scary place sometimes, but we’ve got your back. If you agree, would you take a minute to help us out with a referral?

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