“Today if they buy, they are not willing to be embarrassed by overpaying,” said Jane Bayard, executive vice president at Warburg Realty Partnership of Manhattan. Though the Manhattan residential market has held up reasonably well, “there were times in 2007, for example, when there were multiple offers and people paid millions over the asking price,” Ms. Bayard said. “Today, nobody wants to be the last monkey in the tree.”

The wealthy are cautiously opening their wallets again. “People are fed up, and they want to have a good time,” said Rina Anoussi, a Manhattan travel agent who handles high-end clients. They don’t want Italy 101. They want more exotic destinations like Kenya and Tanzania.” But Ms. Anoussi, who operates her own company under the Tzell Travel Group, said her customers were still wary about overspending. They “argue like carpet dealers in Istanbul looking for the best deals,” she said. “They want to know, ‘What can I get if I book through you.’” Business is also creeping back for hotels, yacht rental companies, jet brokers and jewelry stores — purveyors of the luxury goods that once seemed immune to a downturn but then took a megahit with the economy.
By Geraldine Fabrikant, April 9, 2010 NYT

Link to article