Has Miami dethroned New York as the most expensive housing market in the nation? Not quite, but it has surpassed Los Angeles to claim second position and is nipping at our heels, according to RealtyHop’s latest data, which factors median home prices against median incomes to form the rankings. Miami’s housing market has been one of the hottest since the pandemic began—not surprisingly, people flocked to warm weather and less dense areas during the height of social distancing and work-from-home culture.
We love Miami (so much we’re growing our services there) but it’s no surprise to see NYC top that list. Afterall, we’re just entering the fourth quarter of 2021 and Manhattan’s luxury real estate market has already hit an all-time high. Luxury contracts in the borough from January through September totaled $11.4 billion, surpassing the previous annual record of $11.3 billion set in 2014.
In Northern Manhattan, the average sales price also set a record, the number of sales more than tripled, and listing inventory hit a high for both condos and co-ops. The market share of bidding wars rose to its highest level in three years. Bidding wars weren’t just for purchases either. Some landlords are trying to capitalize on the increasing demand by pitting renters against one another. They’re also ditching rent concessions and other perks that enticed tenants during the pandemic-fueled exodus from the City and resulting spike in vacancies.
Rental demand coincides obviously with many businesses’ return to the office. Office leasing volume jumped more than 50 percent in the third quarter. However, not all office buildings will be returning to their former glory, particularly in the Financial District. The last tenants at 160 Water Street will be vacating the 24-story property any day now, leaving the nearly 500,000-square-foot building empty and its owners eyeing a sale. Their pitch? Residential conversion. Office-to-residential conversions are nothing new in New York City but are a trend to pay attention to in the wake of the pandemic.
It wasn’t all highs and bidding wars in the luxury market last month; there were some notable discounts as well. Gary Barnett’s Extell Development sold a unit at Central Park Tower for nearly 50 percent below the original asking price. The four-bedroom, 7,984-square-foot condo was seeking $95 million, yet closed this month at $49.7 million. A duplex co-op at 720 Park Avenue—a prestigious building that does not permit financing—listed in October 2019 with a price tag of $22 million finally found a buyer last week after the asking price had been slashed to $15.9 million.
Lastly, mortgage rates could begin to rise as soon as the new year. Federal policymakers have signaled that bond buying will begin to taper soon and indicated that borrowing costs should increase to at least 1 percent by the end of 2023. If you’re even thinking about it, let’s talk through your options.