Continued Job Loss Would Slump Housing Sales

The woes on Wall Street are raising questions about any impact on Manhattan's residential real estate. WNYC’s Lisa Chow reports.

REPORTER: The big what if for people watching the real estate market is, what if the city continues to lose jobs? If that happens, housing prices will drop over the next two years, says Jonathan Miller. He's president of the appraisal firm Miller Samuel.

MILLER: People buy houses if they have jobs, people upgrade if they have jobs. And anytime you have job loss you're losing not only personal income but you're also losing tax dollars.

REPORTER: Sales activity this year is already down a third from last year. Houses are sitting on the market two weeks longer than last year. The good news, Miller says, is Manhattan's real estate market is holding up. He says there has been very little speculation in New York, because the coop market essentially prevented it, and the condo market was too expensive for most people to break into. The irony, he says, is while there wasn't much speculation in Manhattan real estate, there was a lot of speculation taking place on Wall Street. For WNYC, I'm Lisa Chow.