We aren’t scared! New Yorkers have been through it all. We aren’t scared of immigration; our city has been a glorious mix of multi-ethnic neighbors and neighborhoods for over a century. We remain an open city, delighting in the to and fro of goods, people and services from all over the world; we ARE globalization. We embrace women as equal to or superior to men in life, in the workplace as well as the home. We don’t fear the LGBT community, the presence of whom has enriched and broadened all of our lives here since long before Stonewall. We aren’t scared of crime, which is so much better than it was 20 years ago that street smart New Yorkers can walk almost everywhere at any time of the day or night without fear. And we aren’t particularly fearful about terrorism, having had the worst of it, apparently unlike many Americans who have never been within a hundred miles of a terrorist attack but fear it mightily. They don’t understand that we are all more likely (literally) to die by falling out of bed. So there’s not much use TRYING to scare us about these things.
We also know that we are very lucky, here on what one of my friends today referred to as “our little island off the coast of America.” The sense of economic and social disenfranchisement which seems to afflict the majority of America’s rural and exurban populations doesn’t affect our affluent client base, for whom a studio apartment costs considerably more than the average price of a house elsewhere in the country. Nor does it affect most of us or our friends and families. That doesn’t mean that we don’t feel great compassion for the fear and anger so many of our countrymen and women feel, brought on by diminished earning power and expectations. We just don’t all agree about how best to address those issues.
Our real estate marketplace, which has been slowing for months, seems likely to continue to pull back through the end of the year. Uncertainty about the future roils stock markets and property markets equally; nervous people tend not to be the most enthusiastic long term investors. Any election year creates uncertainty, and when the president-elect is a completely unknown quantity, that uncertainty counts double. But our economy feels stable, employment continues its slow upward climb, and regardless of the ascendancy of our new president in January, the residential markets will most likely stabilize and recapture their value during the first quarter of 2017. New Yorkers possess only a limited capacity for delayed gratification. And life goes on.
In the years ahead our beautiful city will only become more of a world center with some of the most desirable real estate anywhere. We will continue to embrace both current residents and new arrivals from all over the country and the world, from every religious and ethnic background, contributing to our vibrant culture in the arts, in business, in sports, in technology. We thrive on debate and the full, sometimes aggressive, exchange of ideas. In short, we don’t need to be made great again. We represent the best of American idealism, entrepreneurship, inclusivity and opportunity in all its messy glory. Nothing can take that away.
Frederick Peters is a licensed real estate broker and CEO of Warburg Realty.