While the Titans of Wall Street now tremble at the thought of buying an apartment in this faltering real estate market, an emerging group of buyers is brave enough to look the Cyclops of uncertainty in the eye and begin shopping and even sign purchase contracts.Many of these buyers have never received a fat bonus check, so they don’t miss it now. They did not suffer huge stock market losses, because they didn’t have huge stock market investments. They aren’t mourning the loss of value in their existing co-ops or condos, because they have never owned one. They have jobs and good credit ratings, and they are looking to buy.And now, brokers say, these mostly first-time homeowners are taking advantage of reduced apartment prices and interest rates that have fallen to the lowest levels in a generation. They’re making deals — sometimes far below asking price — on apartments marketed for under $1 million, and especially under $500,000.
By Josh Barbanel, Jan 18, 2009 NYT

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