Real Estate Agents Share Insights from 2019 and Predict What’s to Come in 2020

2019 was a big year in the world of real estate. From an increase in luxury listings to new jaw-dropping amenities, it was clear that refined living was still reaching new heights. With the year officially behind us and a new decade beginning, real estate agents are looking back at the patterns from both buyers and sellers and looking ahead at the exciting possibilities of 2020. Below, three top real estate agents are sharing their biggest takeaways from 2019 and expert predictions for the year to come.

Michael Romer of Romer Debbas

Insights from 2019 and Predict What's to Come in 2020 Michael Romer

Photography courtesy of Romer Debbas

What are some real estate trends you saw in 2019?

Simply put, location matters. Luxury residential purchasers continue to be focused on prime locations with access to transportation, dining and entertainment. With more and more people focused on fitness and health, questions such as where is the nearest gym or health foods store were common in 2019.

What were some common amenities most buyers wanted?

There was a continued emphasis on and desire for open floor plans and modern kitchens and baths.

What was unexpected in the market in 2019?

With a historically strong economy, it was a bit surprising to see a decrease in deal volume. However, with many markets in the midst of price correction or price normalization, the hope is that deal volume will increase in 2020.

What trends to do foresee happening in 2020?

As more and more people are working remotely, a room for a home office (in some cases two) can be expected in 2020. Home offices and gyms (i.e. room for the peloton) will continue to be desired in 2020.

With a strong economy and stock market, low mortgage and inflation rates, I expect more transactions in 2020. Despite it being an election year which often results in hesitancy, all economic indicators are there for a stronger luxury real estate market.

Astrid Pillay of Halstead

Insights from 2019 and Predict What's to Come in 2020 Astrid Pillay

Photography courtesy of Halstead

Buyers have been hesitant, concerned about new taxes and economic uncertainty—what will it take to get them back in the market?

While in the past, the most important selling feature for real estate has been “Location, Location, Location,” it is now all about “Price, Price, Price.” We had tremendous appreciation in New York City over the last decade, and we are now seeing some adjustment. The market needs to adjust more in order to get buyers back in. For some submarkets, the prices are attractive enough already for buyers to find great value. Finally, to get investors off the fence and ready to buy, rental regulations must become more landlord-friendly.

What encouraging signs do you see for 2020?

Prices are dropping. The fundamentals of the economy remain sound although to some extent, it will be susceptible to unexpected decisions in the various trade wars. For savvy buyers, there are great opportunities.

What would you say to a buyer who’s waiting to time the market to get the absolute best deals?

It is very difficult to time the market. I expect some further softness followed by firming up by the end of 2020. Mid-2020 and beyond would be a good time to act. Keep a close eye on properties you like and don’t hesitate to jump at it. Sellers appear to have adjusted to the new market reality and are pricing more in line with reality.

After a price cut or two (or three) do you see sellers pulling their listings off the market?

Some are pulling their listings off the market and/or showing a willingness to adjust their asking prices. Others remain unrealistic and are still resistant to price cuts and will take longer to come around. In the end, all properties sell at the right market value.

For buyers who wait too long, is there a risk of not having good listings out there?

There is no shortage of inventory. Buyers who are looking with personal reasons at top of mind, such as schools or proximity to work, should not wait to purchase – we may well be close to the bottom. If they find the right property for them, they should jump on it.

Lisa Lippman of Brown Harris Stevens

Insights from 2019 and Predict What's to Come in 2020 Lisa Lippman

Photography courtesy of Brown Harris Stevens

What are some real estate trends you saw in 2019?

I saw developers becoming more realistic on prices and willing to negotiate in addition to offering concessions.

What were some common amenities most buyers wanted?

Everyone wants a great gym and most want storage space.

What was unexpected in the market in 2019?

It was unexpected that despite the low interest rates and great stock market, the residential real estate market was still sluggish.

What trends do you foresee happening in 2020?

I see new inventory coming on at lower prices. The comps of 2019 will be the comps sellers use to price and thus deals will start happening a lot and the market may start getting better again!