August was a roller coaster of a month, but the good news is we’re heading back towards equilibrium. Of course, data suggests we can count on Manhattan to break the mold with its unwavering allure regardless of what’s happening in the rest of New York or the nation. Manhattan’s signed contract volume in August was nearly double what it was during August of 2020. Properties over the $4 million threshold showed even more movement, with condo transactions more than doubling and 1-3 family unit transactions more than tripling from the same period in 2019. At the same time, Manhattan’s luxury market took its usual “summer vacation,” which means we saw the traditional decline in activity during the last week of August. That week, just 24 deals were inked over $4 million. When you take into consideration that August’s transactions were mostly completed in just three weeks, Manhattan’s luxury market had an even stronger showing in August that it initially appears.
Brooklyn was another standout this month. The borough is beginning to outpace national trends and may even be joining Manhattan in terms of pricing and appreciation. August saw a continued rise in contracts for the 14th consecutive month, and according to The Real Deal, Brooklyn home contract signings were 142 percent above pre-pandemic levels.
This insatiable demand is pulling new inventory into the market, but not as quickly as you might expect. In fact, the number of single-family homes for sale in Brooklyn is down 42 percent, while the number of sales taking place has risen by a similar figure. This has led to an 11 percent jump in prices in the borough, as well as a tricky conundrum for those looking to cash in: Sellers stand to make a great profit on their homes if they’re willing to move, but if they want to stay local, there aren’t many options when they turn to buy.
Whether Brooklyn joins the ranks of Manhattan with any longevity, we’ll have to wait and see. At the end of August, a 14,000-square-foot Brooklyn mansion known for its gaudy aesthetic sold for $7.2 million, which is 28 percent less than it sold for just three years prior. In the same month, an Upper East Side triplex penthouse fetched $60 million—a shocking $20 million over the asking price—making it the most expensive Manhattan co-op sale since 2015.
Meanwhile, the rest of NYC is experiencing a very welcomed slowdown. Contract signings in Long Island and Westchester declined year over year and Hamptons’ contracts were down 13 percent from August 2019. Of course, there are a number of factors leading to these lower activity levels that may impact each individual opportunity to buy or sell, but that’s why we’re here. At ESPINAL|ADLER, we have our finger on the pulse of every New York neighborhood, well beyond what we can summarize here for you each month. On the whole, this all means the markets are normalizing in New York City, just like they are nationwide. Buyers are beginning to take back some of the power that sellers have been capitalizing on, and it’s exciting to see the equilibrium on the horizon.