Tom Keene: A Talk with New York's Top Realtor

Let's steal something from Bill Gross and Mohamed El-Erian. What is the new normal for Dolly Lenz?
Well, the new normal in terms of sales volume is probably 25 percent less than the old normal. But fortunately, that's fine.

So we are not ready to say the worst is over?
New York City is the tale of two markets. The wealthy, well-to-do are buying everything in sight. Every apartment is setting a new record. On the low to middle end, those people need to sell another apartment to buy a new one. They need financing, need help in some fashion. This sandwich group is problematic.

Give me a dollar amount for what constitutes the low end for you.
A million, 2 million.

Are you seeing big foreign money at the high end in New York?
Right now there are probably three people from Russia bidding on properties in excess of $40 million and looking for others to bid on. It is beyond amazing.

Would real estate suffer dramatically if the mortgage-interest deduction were eliminated?
If you eliminate it, everyone has to recalibrate all their numbers because they are figuring out those numbers in the decision to buy vs. rent. So I think that is not good. And the psychological impact would be huge.

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