The prospect of a return to seasons in real estate — a busy spring and fall, slow summer months and a sleepy market during the holidays, followed by bonus-driven sales from the start of the year to spring — is itself cause for some muted celebration.

The story of the national housing market — and the somewhat less tumultuous New York City subplot — has been one of great extremes: bubbles, booms and busts, crashes and comebacks, misery and euphoria. So what to make of it now? After weeks of gloomy national news fanning fears of a double dip in the market, New York City’s largest brokerage firms are reporting something of a rebound and, with a sense of relief, even a possible state of stability. “It is too soon to tell about a return to normalcy,” said Noah Rosenblatt, an independent broker who publishes real estate data on his Web site, UrbanDigs, and has been analyzing recent property listings, new contracts and sales. “It looks to me that we hit the bottom” in the sales slump that drove home prices down, he said, and that “activity is starting to really pick up.” The major brokerages agree: prices, while low, are holding steady; inventory over all appears to be at a relatively healthy level; and sales have risen substantially over the last six months. The exception was a slightly slower-than-normal summer, but it came after a slightly better bonus season earlier in the year, and there are now reports of a more typical post-Labor Day upswing.
By Sara Kershaw, September 16, 2010, NYT

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