Key Takeaways:

  • NYC sales volume drops to $1.63 billion in Q1 2023, falling 58% Y-o-Y after nearly doubling in Q1 2022
  • Q1 2023 sales slow to half of year-ago figures, with only 57 deals closed in February 2023
  • Manhattan’s nearly $1 billion sales volume highest in city, despite 63% Y-o-Y drop
  • Brooklyn sales drop by half, but borough remains most active sales market in city
  • Sales slow by one-third, but Queens’ sales volume falls 70% Y-o-Y
  • The Bronx logs sharpest price growth with 21% price gain per unit and 14% increase per square foot
  • Top Q1 sale fetches $72 million for multi-building deal in Brooklyn

The last few years have certainly been a rollercoaster for the New York City multifamily market. First, it was the Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019 (TPA) that shook investors’ and owners’ confidence in the NYC multifamily sector. Then, before the market even had the time to readjust, the COVID-19 pandemic hit, pushing sales down to historically low levels.

Eventually, the market started to recover in 2021 and reached new highs in 2022. And the bustling activity of 2022 was especially evident in Q1 and Q2 of last year, with sales surpassing 350 unique transactions each quarter. However, the market started cooling in the second half of 2022 with the Fed’s rate increases and more expensive commercial loans a significant factor.

NYC Multifamily Market Cools in Q1 2023 After Banner 2022

This year began with both the number and volume of sales falling more in line with the first quarter of 2020. Specifically, NYC multifamily sales totaled 196 unique transactions for a total sales volume of $1.63 billion in the first quarter of 2023. For comparison, the same period in 2020 closed $1.76 billion in multifamily sales across 197 deals.

That said, when comparing the start of 2023 to the same timeframe last year, the city’s multifamily sector seems significantly slower. Granted, 2022 was an unusually active year for the NYC multifamily sector and, consequently, the first quarter of 2023 was bound to post negative trends both year-over-year (Y-o-Y), as well as quarter-over-quarter.

More precisely, the city logged 379 multifamily sales in the first quarter of 2022 alone for a total sales volume of $3.85 billion. As a result, the number of sales in Q1 2023 was half of what it was a year ago, while the volume of sales fell 58% Y-o-Y. In particular, February 2023 was the slowest in terms of deal activity with 57 closed transactions, but the total dollar value for those 57 deals reached $971,000 — about three times higher than January or March volumes and just 16% lower than February 2022 figures.

At the same time, pricing metrics for the sector held up the same trend of surging activity and prices in Q1 2022, only to drop back to levels more in line with pre-pandemic/pre-TPA figures in Q1 2023.  For example, the average price per unit in Q1 of this year stood at $343,000 — 13% lower than year-ago prices. Similarly, the average price per square foot came in at $414, which was 16% below Q1 2022 figures. Thus, both price indicators were closest to 2017 figures.

Speaking of pricing, the city’s top five multifamily sales sold for a combined $194 million, $135 million of which was spent in Brooklyn. In this case, it was the result of the borough claiming three of the city’s most expensive deals, including the #1 most expensive NYC multifamily sale in Q1 2023 — the $71.85 million, two-building portfolio containing 220 N. 10th St. and 225 N. Ninth St.

This was followed by the #2 priciest multifamily deal — the $34,926,000 sale of 50 N. First St., also in Brooklyn. The borough’s third entry was the $27,815,000 purchase of 139 N. 10th St., the city’s #5 priciest.

Notably, no Queens multifamily sales ranked among NYC’s most expensive, but Manhattan claimed the #3 priciest with 217 Thompson St. at $31.55 million, while the Bronx was represented by 139 N. 10th St., which changed hands for $28,279,000.

Manhattan Price Drops Pull Citywide Price Trends Into Negative Growth Territory

Manhattan closed 56 sales in the first quarter of 2023, a decrease of 43% from the same period in 2022. As usual, Manhattan had the highest sales volume in the city by far at $946 million. However, that figure still represented a 63% Y-o-Y decrease due to the unusually high transactional activity of Q1 2022, when Manhattan reached a sales volume of $2.55 billion. In fact, in Q1 2022, Manhattan alone had a higher sales volume than all of the multifamily sales recorded in NYC in 2020 and 2021 combined.

Manhattan’s unit volume also highlighted the major differences between the first quarter of this year and Q1 2022. Specifically, the borough saw 1,742 units traded in Q1 2023, which was 59% less than the 4,200 sold during the same period last year. What’s more, Manhattan’s unit volume in Q1 2022 was also higher than NYC’s 4,067-unit volume in Q1 2023.

Likewise, Manhattan multifamily pricing metrics also trended down in the first quarter with the average price per unit falling 39% to $423,000 from the year-ago $694,000. This marked the sharpest drop in per-unit pricing in the city, as well as the lowest price per unit in Manhattan in at least seven years (with the notable exception of 2020). Additionally, this also pushed citywide price growth into the negative, as well.

Meanwhile, Manhattan’s most expensive multifamily sale in Q1 2023 was also the city’s third priciest — the $31.55 million 217 Thompson St. It was followed by the $26.75 million sale of 271 W. 11th St., as well as 324 Grand St., which went for $23.75 million.

Brooklyn Logs Highest Number of Multifamily Sales in NYC

Although Brooklyn’s Q1 sales volume was less than half of Manhattan’s at $434 million, Brooklyn had a more active market, closing 75 deals as opposed to the 56 recorded in Manhattan. Brooklyn also traded more buildings than Manhattan (76 versus 69). Overall, the borough kept in line with citywide sales activity and sales volume trends, with both metrics logging significant year-over-year decreases due to last year’s very active first quarter.

Thus, the first three months of this year totaled half as many unique transactions as Q1 2023. At the same time, the borough’s sales volume was down by one-third year-over-year. Moreover, half as many buildings were sold in Q1 2023 (76) than during the same period last year (159). And the same held true for the number of units sold, with 979 units trading between January and March of this year versus 1,948 in 2022.

However, in terms of pricing, Brooklyn’s multifamily market went against the grain, along with the Bronx, with both boroughs logging increases. In Brooklyn’s case, the average price per unit grew 9% Y-o-Y to reach just over $402,000, while the average price per square foot ticked up 5% to $444. It’s worth noting that those were the highest figures in at least seven years for both metrics (again, with the exception of 2020).

Brooklyn was also the setting for three of the city’s top multifamily deals which fetched $71.85 million (220 N. 10th St. and 225 N. 9th St.); $34,926,000 (50 N. First St.) and $27,815,000 (139 N. 10th St.).

Queens Sales Volume Drops at Sharpest Rate, Falls 70% Y-o-Y

While the four boroughs all logged sharp sales volume drops, Queens marked the sharpest one by far, closing the first quarter of this year 70% below year-ago figures. Consequently, Queens multifamily sales totaled $120 million between January and March of this year, whereas the same period last year closed with a $404 million total. Similarly, Queens also had the sharpest unit volume drop at -71% Y-o-Y: Here, only 666 units traded hands in Q1 2023, as opposed to the 2,292 sold during the first quarter of last year.

Furthermore, the number of buildings sold and the number of multifamily sales was also noticeably lower, with both indicators down by about one-third. More precisely, sales activity slowed 32% Y-o-Y to close 44 multifamily deals in Q1 2023 versus the 65 deals recorded in the first quarter of last year. Additionally, those 44 deals targeted a total of 46 buildings, 34% fewer than last year.

Queens kept in line with citywide pricing trends, as well, logging decreases in terms of both price per unit and price per square foot, although nowhere near as sharp as those recorded in Manhattan. Specifically, the average price per unit in Q1 2023 stood at $220,000, contracting 7% Y-o-Y, while the average price per square foot ticked down 5% Y-o-Y to close the first quarter at $444.

Meanwhile, the borough’s most expensive multifamily sales topped out at much lower prices than its neighbors. In fact, the sale of 25-12 37th Ave. and 25-16 37th Ave. fetched just half of the top deal in the Bronx, changing hands for $14.12 million. The next-most expensive multifamily deals in Queens were the $9.5 million sale of 37-20 99th St. and the $7.25 million fetched by 87-44 168th Place and 87-46 168th Place.

The Bronx Logs Largest Price Gains in NYC as the Average Price Per Unit Climbs 21% Y-o-Y

With only 21 sales, the Bronx had the fewest sales of the four boroughs, as well as the largest drop in sales on a percentage basis, decreasing 67% year-over-year. The borough also had the most significant drop in the number of buildings sold with 25 properties changing ownership in the first quarter of this year, as opposed to the 66 sold in Q1 2022. Plus, the borough’s unit volume also dropped by a significant 66% Y-o-Y, trading only 680 units in the first quarter of the year.

Nevertheless, the Bronx closed $127 million in multifamily sales, surpassing Queens by $7 million. Even so, the Bronx was not exempt from the multifamily sector’s citywide slowdown from Q1 2022’s surge as its sales volume was halved in Q1 2023.

Conversely, pricing trends were positive in the Bronx. In fact, it logged the highest price increase among the four boroughs with double-digit gains. In particular, the borough’s average price per square foot rose 14% Y-o-Y to reach $224 — the highest first quarter price in at least seven years. And, the average price unit grew at an even sharper rate of 21% Y-o-Y, lifting the price of an average Bronx multifamily unit to $174,000.

But the buyers of the borough’s priciest property sale in Q1 paid nearly three times as much per unit, with 2351 Walton Ave. trading hands for $28,279,000. The $26.5 million sale of the portfolio containing 44 W. 175th St., 47 W. 175th St. and 1695 Grand Ave. was next, followed by the $25.4 million purchase of 2105 Daly Ave.

Methodology

The Q1 2023 multifamily report takes into consideration all multifamily building sales registered between January 1, 2023, and March 31, 2023, in the boroughs of Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx. All sales were counted for the month they were registered in.

All deals between related parties were excluded. Properties with fewer than five units were excluded, as well, as were deals with a sale price of less than $100,000.

Eliza Theiss

Eliza Theiss

Eliza Theiss is a senior writer reporting real estate trends in the US. Her work has been cited by CBS News, Curbed, The Los Angeles Times, and Forbes among others. With an academic background in journalism, Eliza has been covering real estate since 2012. Before joining PropertyShark, Eliza was an associate editor at Multi-Housing News and Commercial Property Executive. Eliza writes for both PropertyShark and CommercialEdge. Reach her at [email protected]