Real estate analysts and brokers are still looking for a silver lining—a sign that the profitability of the boom years hasn’t completely vanished—and they are currently looking at inventory data as a sign of hope. The week after Labor Day is a common milestone for the real estate business: the summer season has ended, vacationers are returning, and usually there is a small increase in the number of listings. This year, the number of post-Labor-Day listings on the market in Manhattan were similar to last year’s, reports The New York Times. Even though prices are still dropping, companies like Miller Samuel and StreetEasy say this could mean that transaction activity and inventory are stabilizing, which might indicate an end to the downward spiral. As for prices, the median asking price after Labor Day in 2007 was $1,050,000; it was $1,100,000 in 2008; and it dropped to $860,750 this year. Or, breaking it down, studios went from $525,000 in 2007 to $429,000 in 2008 to $399,000 in 2009; one-bedrooms went from $785,000 to $775,000 to $675,000; and two-bedrooms went from $1,412,500 to $1,599,500 to $1,250,000. Hall Willkie, the president of Brown Harris Stevens, gave the Times a less broker-centric view of the numbers: In many ways, it’s going to be a healthier market … It will be more affordable to more people, which is more sustainable. A lot of money was made during the boom years, but I don’t know if it’s such a great world when people with good jobs and a good income can’t buy a home.
Looking for the Bottom [Brownstoner]
The Look of Autumn [NY Times]


Looks like Brooklyn isn’t the only borough seeing a stalled project care of our pals at Forest City Ratner. Apparently an ambitious FCR-developed 75-story tower planned for 8 Spruce Street, near City Hall, is going nowhere fast. This wouldn’t necessarily be news except for the fact that part of the Frank Gehry-designed building is supposed to include a public school, and the local community board down there is starting to get a wee bit skeptical about the school being ready for action in ’09, as promised. Downtown Express reports:

When Noah Pfefferblit, C.B. 1’s district manager, asked Ratner and the S.C.A. why no work has happened on the project in six months, he got two different answers. The School Construction Authority said there was a delay in delivering a shipment of steel, but that the steel would arrive soon. After that, work will begin on an expedited schedule to get the school open by fall 2009, the authority said. Ratner gave an entirely different explanation, after canceling an appearance at the community board to discuss the project. They said they’re having issues with their financing, Pfefferblit told the Youth and Education Committee Tuesday. Frank Gehry, known for complicated and whimsical buildings, designed the tower that will house the school. Paul Hovitz, a committee member, provided further evidence of funding troubles, which have been rumored for months. He was recently discussing the project with another board member in public, when a man overheard him. Ratner is having problems financing the project, said the man, who added that he worked for a company doing the financing, Hovitz said.

Join the club, Manhattan.
Delay? Count the Ways {Downtown Express]
Endangered AY [Brownstoner]
Photo by threecee.