Another major winner could be the city’s suburbs. “Look, if you love the city, but it doesn’t have schools, restaurants, broadway, sports games, museums—if all that’s not back in swing—it doesn’t look like New York anymore,” Olshan says. “Someone sitting in their apartment might decide to try the suburban experiment. And sometimes, the suburban thing works out better for people with children. It’s just the reality.” 

Finally, she says that the market for one-bedroom apartments “will probably hold up pretty well, because those are not people with a big discretionary income—and very often, don’t have kids,” she explains. “They’ll make sacrifices [in living/working arrangements], because they already do make sacrifices.”


“The people who are going to get crushed are the developers,” Olshan says. “Many of them have a lot of debt and no velocity of sales. They can’t find their way out of this environment quick enough.” Some developers, she continues, “could go into foreclosure or make bulk sales.” Everyone, Olshan says, “will have to adjust to new realities.”

One of those realities might be very restrictive entry and exit rules regarding open houses. Currently, some co-ops don’t allow non-residents to enter the building. “Will buildings even allow open houses? I doubt it,” Olshan says. “Some may say they don’t want residents to show their homes at all, because they just don’t want the risk. We just don’t know. The virus controls the show.”

A further possible casualty: the borough of Brooklyn, for the same reason Manhattan real estate might become more desirable.

“Living in Brooklyn is great, but how are you going to get there if you don’t want to take the subway?” Olshan asks. “And even if you can afford a car service, that means you’re in a car for 45 minutes; would you just be better off doing the suburban experiment?”

Buying Opportunity

One thing is relatively certain: Luxury housing prices won’t rise soon.

“The first question is: How fast will sellers capitulate to the next step down in prices?” Miller says. “The second is: How long does this next step last?”