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Justice Sotomayor: "Not Wise To Sell My Home"

She may be moving to Washington for a new job, but newly minted Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor is holding onto her Greenwich Village condo (estimated value: about $1 million).

The reason? "It would not be wise for me to sell my home in New York because the market is so low," the Justice said in an interview with C-SPAN, according to Mark Sherman of the Huffington Post.

Her quote came out at the same time as New York City's depressing third-quarter housing statistics. According to appraiser Jonathan Miller of Miller Samuel, the average price per square foot in Manhattan was down to $996. I know it's hard to explain to Middle America (where I grew up), but crashing through the $1,000-square-foot support is a bad sign for the Big Apple. To give you context, prices are down 16.5 percent from last year, while listings are taking 24.5 percent longer to sell.

So is this the bottom? Any agent worth their salt would simply refuse to answer that question, on the grounds that it's impossible to see the future. (I regularly tell my clients that if my crystal ball were that good, I'd be talking to them from a yacht).

But it looks like nationally the market may be stabilizing a little, and here in NYC the skid seems to be lessening. My bet is that we bump along the bottom for the next few years.

If that's your scenario, and you're not under pressure to sell, it is indeed wise to follow Sotomayor's lead.

However, now is the time to keep your property well-maintained. It's tough with this economy, but try to get on a regular schedule of freshening up chipped paint and repairing broken appliances, installing bright lighting and putting in energy-efficient windows. That way you'll be ready to put up the For Sale sign -- and get the best price -- when the upturn comes along.

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