MDLNY’s Tyler Whitman on New York’s real estate comeback
Today’s HousingWire Daily features an interview with broker and star of Bravo’s “Million Dollar Listing New York,” Tyler Whitman. Whitman, who leads The Whitman Team at New York real estate brokerage Triplemint, discusses the current state of New York real estate.
Here is a small preview of the interview, which has been lightly edited for length and clarity:
Alcynna Lloyd: We’re hearing a mixture of commentary on how the New York real estate market is performing. Some brokers say everything is coming back and others mention empty businesses and apartments, major price reductions, and more. So, what’s actually going on?
Tyler Whitman: There are a lot of people coming back, so it really depends on which price point we’re talking about. Most of my listings that are priced around $3 million are selling within the first couple of weeks to multiple offers. Most of these buyers are people who read the press and decided they wanted to stay in New York and saw an opportunity. At the same time, there were a lot of people who saw an opportunity and came back. My opinion as to why there’s some mixed messaging right now is because a lot of the people who are buying in the city are looking for an opportunity. It’s time to invest in the comeback of the greatest city in the world and brokers are getting really excited about what’s going on in the market.
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Below is the transcription of the interview. These transcriptions, powered by Speechpad, have been lightly edited and may contain small errors from reproduction:
Alcynna Lloyd: Hello “HousingWire Daily” listeners. Today I’m joined with top-selling New York broker, and star of Bravo’s “Million Dollar Listing New York,” Tyler Whitman. Thanks for joining us on “HousingWire Daily,” Tyler.
Tyler Whitman: The crowd goes wild. I gotta give it sound effects. Oh, my gosh. Thank you for having me. I’m very excited to be here.
Alcynna Lloyd: Of course. Thank you. So, listeners, Tyler’s joining us today to discuss New York’s real estate market and how it’s fair during COVID-19. As most of you know, the New York housing market is one of the hottest in the country, and today we’re really going to get a feel for how it’s behaving during these uncertain times.
Tyler, now, you’re the founder of New York-based real estate group, The Whitman Team at Triplemint, but you have over a decade of expertise in the luxury market. In fact, you’ve sold more than 500 million in your career, with 150 million in the last 6 months alone. So I’m curious, can you tell us how you got your start in the industry, and some of the biggest changes you’ve seen in the last couple of years?
Tyler Whitman: Yeah. You know, so I started in the industry back in 2006, but I was mainly a rental broker back then. And then, when we started Triplemint, which is the company I currently work for, in 2013, I actually put selling on pause and helped build the company to what it is today. So I went back to selling full-time in early…it was actually the middle of 2016, but really more towards the beginning of 2017 that I really started to dive in.
And it was an interesting time to start The Whitman Team, which is my team in the city, because at 2017, we were on the other side of a very hot market. You know, things had been really strong in the city from, like, 2013 through 2017, and as soon as I started selling, things were on the decline. You know, things were definitely slowing down, prices were starting to drop, things were sitting on the market a lot longer, and all of the news and what really made most sense was there was a big new development boom in Manhattan, and Brooklyn, honestly.
Brooklyn is still doing well, but there’s a huge new development boom in Manhattan. And it was very expensive product, and it was not being absorbed. You know, I don’t think that the wealth and the belief in the pricing was there at the time, and we were seeing some things move and some projects were really successful, but by the time 2019 rolled around, which was the year before COVID, that was one of the worst markets that we had worked. And the really big challenge there was that most other markets were doing really well, you know, and New York City was always known as an expensive luxury market.
But the job market was doing well, the stock market was doing well, and so when we were talking to sellers, there wasn’t really something for us to be able to point at and say, “Here’s why, you know, the real estate market isn’t doing well.” And usually there was some sort of leading indicator that we could see and reference, but what was really happening was just a buyer slowdown, and in my personal opinion, you know, there’s honestly no data to support this, I think Manhattan got a little big for its bridges in terms of pricing.
So then, obviously, 2020 hit. The COVID market brought us to a screeching halt. We were hit very, very hard by the pandemic. You know, we are very condensed and our population lives in big communal buildings all right on top of each other, and people didn’t have their yards to spread out, and there’s not a ton of private outdoor space. And it was a very scary time for us. And then, now we’re on the other side of COVID, and New York is proving itself.
Alcynna Lloyd: All right. So, right now we’re hearing a mixture of commentary about how the New York real estate market is performing. You, kind of, touched on that a little bit, but wanna dive a little deeper on that. Some brokers are saying everything is coming back, and then others mention empty businesses and apartments, major price reductions and more. So, what is actually going on?
Tyler Whitman: There are a lot of people coming back, and it depends on which price point we’re talking about. We are definitely seeing most of my listings that are priced for $3 million dollars, and priced correctly are selling within the first couple of weeks to multiple offers. And most of these buyers are people who had read the press and decided that they wanted to stay in New York, and so they saw an opportunity. There were a lot of people who saw an opportunity, who all came back at the same time.
And my opinion as to why there’s messaging right now is because a lot of the people who are buying in the city are looking for an opportunity. It’s time to invest in the comeback of the greatest city in the world, in my humble opinion. And brokers are getting really excited about what’s going on in the market, and brokers often forget that we control the market a lot with our own messaging. And we’re going to our sellers and we’re saying, you know, “The market is exciting right now. Buyers are coming back. Things are selling really quickly.” And the first thing a seller thinks is, “Oh, then we should list at a higher price.”
And so what I’m starting to see is an overreaction to the buyers that are coming in to take advantage of what is happening right now, and a lot of sellers that are saying, “Oh, then it’s time to go back to my aggressive pricing,” which I like to remind them of is how we got to the 2019 market to begin with, is because people were being overaggressive with their pricing. And then, 2020 was just the icing on the cake, but we were not in a good position before COVID.
And so it’s really important, and for real estate agents that are listening to this, to keep your messaging appropriate. Like, it always comes down to pricing, and you have to get the price right. And just because things are busy does not necessarily mean that you can slap some, you know, astronomical price tag on an apartment. It will not sell. It will still sit. And then it’ll sit, and people will start to develop this messaging that the market is dead again. And it’s not. It’s all about pricing.
Alcynna Lloyd: All right. So pricing is something that we’re definitely seeing as a huge concern for the real estate industry right now, and this takes me to the next question. I wanna discuss more about The Whitman Team and Triplemint, I believe your company is big into data and predictive analytics that help investors and buyers. So, what is some emerging data on your radar? Is there anything brokers and agents need to be paying attention to right now?
Tyler Whitman: Yeah. So, you know, a big thing that we try to pay attention to are life-changing circumstances, you know. And so we pay attention to what companies are hiring, what’s coming into the city, and then we’re also paying attention to just things like, you know, registries, and just general population info. And I think one of the blessings of COVID, and what it did for our market and what we’re seeing, is a lot of people went through a lot of life-changing circumstances, whether it was a new career, new relationships, a lot of things happened.
What we see as a company is that leading indicators trigger real estate transactions. New jobs almost always mean new homes. New relationships often lead to new homes. The growing of families and relationships, you know, these are all indicators that lead to buying and selling real estate usually across multiple transactions. And I believe that one of the reasons that the housing market is on fire right now, and will continue to be on fire is because there are so many life-changing circumstances that are happening.
And, obviously, with COVID, you know, that was a big part that led to many real estate transactions. You know, so that is just something that we’re paying attention to, and we’re seeing a lot of it happening. And I think it’s one of the big drivers of the success of the real estate market right now, is that people are moving. And those are not just indicators of, “Oh, I’d like to get a new home.” It’s an indicator of, “I have to get a new home.” And when somebody has to get a new home, like, those are motivated people who will react within the market that is currently existing instead of waiting for the market that, you know, suits their needs.
Alcynna Lloyd: Yeah. All these changes are definitely affecting not only how people conduct business, but how they personally see their lives and where they want to live. So thank you for touching on that. And now I have a question that is mostly for me because I am a Bravo fan, but what is it like to appear on the show then conduct business? Does Bravo depict an accurate representation of what your day-to-day is like?
Tyler Whitman: For me, they do. I can’t speak on behalf of the other cast members, but, you know, I’m somewhat new to the show. This most recent season was my first full season, because I joined halfway through the previous season. And for me, my life…because they really show my normal life, and I live my normal life, so being on the show is a pretty accurate representation of my day-to-day lifestyle.
What’s interesting is that so many people watch the show, and when they come up to me because they know me, it almost feels like they know me before I know them, which, you know, it’s a very interesting circumstance. But a lot of them are really shy, and I can never tell. I’m like, “Oh, is this just a personality trait of theirs, and they’re acting, kind of, interesting?” Because usually they won’t tell me until towards the end of getting to know me, whether that’s in the first meeting or after the deal closes.
Then a lot of times they’re like, “Hey, I’m a big fan of this show, and it was awesome to get to work with you.” And my favorite feedback that I get, and I get this constantly, is, “You’re exactly the same in real life.” So I just have to remember to take these deep breaths and be like, you know what? They hired me because I’m an authentic person that they like, and that’s what I need to be. And it’s my favorite compliment to get, is when people say, “You’re exactly what I expected you to be from the show,” in a good way.
Alcynna Lloyd: That’s amazing. I’m glad to hear that you’re having a good time both on the show and then out of the show, also, in your professional life. I’ve always wondered how that interaction worked. So, before we wrap today, is there anything else our audience needs to know about you, The Whitman Team, or New York real estate in general? There’s so much going on between all those things. Anything else we need to know?
Tyler Whitman: You know, things are going to be exciting. Something that I think is really, really important, and this is just, kind of, like an easy real estate lesson, is people are constantly trying to wait markets out. They’re constantly trying to say like, “I wanna wait ’til things die down. I want to wait ’til things are…” Or if they’re the sellers, they’re like, “I want to wait until things peak.” Real estate is a home. It’s an investment, but it’s also a home. And I think we all learned from COVID that it’s a really important part of our day-to-day process, and how we enjoy our lives and our existence on this very interesting planet that we all share.
And it’s a home first, and, you know, one of my favorite things to remember is that the right time is when you can afford and when you need it. Because everything that I’m reading, and all of the seminars that I go to…I’m constantly trying to educate myself and stay on top of things, everybody’s saying that we have at least three more years of this insane market. And three years is a very long time. We forget how much a home, you know, really affects our entire life. You know, so take advantage of opportunities now. Don’t try to wait for a question mark in the future. Just seize the day.
Alcynna Lloyd: All right. Well, Tyler, thank you so much for joining us today.
Tyler Whitman: Of course. Thanks for having me.