Manhattan apartment sales peak in three decades

More Manhattan apartments sold in the third quarter than at any time in the past 32 years, in the latest sign that New York real estate is ready for a faster-than-expected recovery, new market reports show .

There were 4,523 closed co-op and condo sales in Manhattan in the third quarter, surpassing the record set in mid-2007 when 3,939 sales were recorded, according to Jonathan J. Miller, appraiser and author of a new report. . by the brokerage firm Douglas Elliman. The quarter ended with more than three times more sales than the same period in 2020, when the market was largely blocked because of the coronavirus, and with 76.5% more sales than at the same period in 2019, before the pandemic.

“What we’re seeing right now is catching up,” Miller said, referring to pent-up demand after a near-record year of inventory to sell. “All the suburbs were booming as Manhattan saw sales at half the normal rate last year. Now we are seeing this massive increase.

The data is consistent with findings from other companies. Sales volume topped $ 9.5 billion, the highest in any quarter on record, according to brokerage firm Corcoran, while Brown Harris Stevens posted the highest quarterly sales figures in eight years.

“The clearance sale is long over,” said Gregory Heym, chief economist at Brown Harris Stevens, of discounts received during much of 2020. These discounts were largely due to an overabundance of luxury inventory. that existed before the pandemic even spread. lower prices, and Covid “forced a price adjustment that was necessary for several years”.

Thanks to higher sales, driven by rising vaccinations and still low mortgage rates, selling prices have already exceeded pre-pandemic levels in many market segments.

The median selling price in Manhattan over the past three months was $ 1,115,000, up 1.4% from the same period last year and 8.8% from the same period it two years ago, Miller said. Co-ops and one-bedroom condos, which account for the largest share of sales, sold for a median value of $ 800,000, up 3.6% from last year.

Competition is tightening again. In the resale market, sellers have reduced their last asking price by an average of 2.6%, the smallest discount in nearly four years, according to Brown Harris Stevens.

The auction wars are also back, and the share of cash buyers, after dropping to a seven-year low of 39.3 percent at the start of the year, is up to 48.6 percent of all sales, in line with the longtime average, Miller says.

But the market is far from fully recovered. There were 7,694 active listings in Manhattan, about 17% above the 10-year average for the third quarter, Miller said, and a prolonged return to the office for a large chunk of potential buyers, some of whom might not. never come back. five days from home to work, casts doubts on the more optimistic expectations of some analysts. A setback in the fight against coronaviruses and rising mortgage rates could also dampen momentum.

Still, the surge in sales has been encouraging for sellers and their agents, who for part of 2020 stopped counting days in the market altogether, due to bleak prospects.

At the pace of sales in Q3 2020, it would have taken more than 20 months to sell all of the existing inventory – the second-worst sales pace in more than two decades. This last quarter there were only 5.1 months of supply, compared to the past decade average of 7.2 months.

“This is why the market is feeling so incredibly fast,” Miller said. “I think we have a few quarters ahead of us with a very sustained pace. “

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