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NYC Median Sale Price Hits Yearly Low, Sales Drop Below 2,000 Once Again

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to unfold across the U.S., every day reveals new information and ramifications. For NYC — one of the early epicenters of the pandemic — a key industry on watch is real estate. And, because few industries are as central to the life and character of New York as real estate, PropertyShark is providing regular insights into the pandemic’s influence on the city’s residential market.

September 17, 2020

Key Takeaways:

  • With 1,893 deals, NYC sales drop 19% M-o-M and 45% Y-o-Y in August
  • City median drops to $665,000 in August, marking lowest monthly figure YTD
  • Manhattan median misses million-dollar mark for third time in six months
  • At $553,400, Queens records lowest median sale price YTD
  • Bronx median continues downward trend since May peak, stabilizing at $453,000
  • Brooklyn median drops below $700,000 for first time this year

As New York State continues onward in Phase Four, the performance of the residential real estate market is of heightened interest — especially in the context of shifting consumer habits and trends. While 2020 started off well and promised increased sales activity, projections and expectations were later shattered by the uncertainty and upheaval of March and historically low sales levels in April.

Meanwhile, as the curve flattened, the state’s gradual reopening brought a tentative return of transactional activity in May, followed by a June characterized by strengthening sales trends and the first significant year-over-year (Y-o-Y) price drop, despite recording the highest median sale price this year at $717,733. Then came July, which brought with it the sharpest decrease of the four boroughs’ median sale price, combined with the strongest month of sales since March.

Meanwhile, August was marked by the lowest median sale price of the year at $665,000 and sales dropped 19% below July levels.

Since the beginning of the crisis, transactional activity has consistently trended negative year-over-year. While March kicked off with sales activity in its first week 15% higher than the same period last year, by the end of the month, weekly sales had dropped 36% Y-o-Y.

Then, sales activity bottomed out in April — its 1,549 deals equated to a 61% Y-o-Y drop. And, while May’s 1,337 recorded sales were certainly a drop in sheer numbers compared to April, they also represented a decrease of only 52% Y-o-Y, promising a tentative return of transactional activity.

June brought even more activity to the NYC housing market, with the month’s 1,670 sales coming in just 41% below June 2019 levels. However, it must be noted that June 2020 figures were skewed beyond the effects of the pandemic’s– sales activity and the median sale price surged artificially in June 2019 as buyers and sellers rushed to close deals before the new mansion tax went into effect in July 2019.

Meanwhile, July 2020 continued to build upon June’s momentum and marked the first month in which sales surpassed 2,000 monthly transactions since March. In fact, July’s 2,343 sales represented a contraction of just 33% Y-o-Y — the lowest rate since the start of the crisis. Moreover, compared to June, sales activity experienced a month-over-month (M-o-M) surge of 40%.

August, however, broke the three-month growth streak with its lackluster total of 1,893 sales — 19% fewer than July. Overall, sales activity across the four boroughs was down 45% compared to August 2019, representing the sharpest year-over-year rate of contraction in three months.

At the beginning of the crisis, pricing trends remained firmly positive and the NYC median sale price stood steadily above the same period last year. Specifically, both March and April boasted a 5% Y-o-Y price gain. Moreover, each week in March also posted a median sale price higher than the same period in 2019 — a trend that continued throughout April.

Overall, May kept up with that trend, as well, and closed with a median sale price of $705,000 for a 4% gain over May 2019. But, the trend began to shift in June and reversed completely in July.

June 2020 actually kicked off with the strongest pricing trends of the year. In fact, the NYC median sale price was $743,000 in its first week, which pushed the month’s overall median to $717,700. This also made June 2020 the most expensive month YTD, even as it closed with a 2% Y-o-Y drop in its median (which was influenced, once again, by the artificially inflated pricing of June 2019).

July, however, presented a whole new picture. While the $780,000 median of July 2019 also reflected the pre-mansion tax sales frenzy that had occurred in the upper end of the market, this was not the sole cause of the 13% Y-o-Y drop that was recorded in July 2020. Rather, up to that point, July’s $680,000 median sale price was the lowest median since March.

Unfortunately, August prices trended even lower, declining 2% M-o-M and 1% Y-o-Y. What’s more, August’s $665,000 median became the lowest NYC median sale price YTD, dipping another .5% lower than February, which was previously the lowest-priced month of the year with a $668,277 median.

And, while Q2’s elevated pricing trends resulted in a median sale price of $690,000 for the first half of 2020 — and a 3% gain over H1 2019 — the contrary pricing trends and negative Y-o-Y price growth in July and August completely erased that.

In fact, the July and August medians also brought the city’s YTD median down to $685,000, resulting in flat price growth Y-o-Y. At the same time, YTD activity totaled 18,542 sales — down 29% compared to the same timeframe last year.

Of the four boroughs, Manhattan was the hardest hit residential market in the first half of 2020. Here, sales activity was down 31% Y-o-Y and the median sale price dropped 13%. Specifically, the first half of 2019 totaled 5,487 residential sales for a median sale price of $1.2 million, whereas the first half of 2020 recorded 3,775 sales for a $1.05 million median.

In fact, since the pandemic began, only April saw prices increase Y-o-Y, and that month’s $1.34 million median remains the borough’s peak year-to-date. On the other end of the spectrum, June’s median underwent a Y-o-Y price contraction of 37%, due, in part, to the rush to close high-end deals prior to the mansion tax during the year prior. That push also contributed to July’s 26% Y-o-Y drop, even as the median stabilized at $1.15 million.

August wrapped up with negative pricing trends across the board, coming in 5% below August 2019 figures and contracting 15% M-o-M. Moreover, August 2020’s $977,500 median became the third-lowest median sale price of the current year. It was also the third month in which the median sale price slipped below the $1 million mark in Manhattan.

From a sales activity perspective, July’s 633 sales made it Manhattan’s strongest month since March. That figure represented a 36% Y-o-Y drop in sales — the least-drastic decrease since March. But, similar to its pricing trends, the borough’s sales activity was also reduced in August, closing 536 sales for a 15% contraction M-o-M and a 46% drop Y-o-Y.

As a result, Manhattan’s YTD sales activity totaled 4,944 transactions — down 34% compared to the first eight months of 2019. The borough’s YTD median was also lower than the same period last year, although its $1.05 million median represented a more modest contraction of 14%.

On the other hand, the Queens housing market continued to navigate the health and economic crisis in a much calmer manner, all things considered. Its sales activity was down 22% Y-o-Y in the first half 2020, but its median sale price actually went up 10% for the highest price increase across the four boroughs YTD.

In fact, although sales activity growth in the borough bottomed out at a negative 58% in April, the median sale price jumped 19% to reach a year-to-date high of $630,000, followed closely by June’s $619,000. Then, a $576,500 median in July made it the only month of the year with negative price growth Y-o-Y. More precisely, Queens’ July 2020 median sale price was 10% below July 2019, which had been that year’s most expensive month up to that point.

Meanwhile, August 2020’s median sale price came in at $553,400 for a drop of 4% M-o-M, but a gain of 2% Y-o-Y. It’s also worth noting that August’s median is the lowest median sale price in Queens year-to-date.

And, while sales activity reached a four-month high in July with 855 transactions, August slipped, recording 738 sales and reversing a three-month trend of strengthening sales activity. In fact, August sales were down 40% Y-o-Y, bringing the borough’s sales activity down by another 200 basis points YTD compared to the same period last year.

As a result, Queens recorded a total 6,730 sales YTD — 25% fewer than in 2019 — while its $580,000 YTD median was 5% higher than it was in the first eight months of 2019.

Further north, Bronx sales activity also remained in negative growth territory, coming in -38% Y-o-Y compared to August 2019 for the sharpest rate of contraction in three months. This followed July’s 22% Y-o-Y contraction, which was the lowest in four months and had given hope for more sustained growth.

Unfortunately, that was not the case. July’s 260 sales were followed by 182 transactions in August. That brought the borough’s sales activity to 1,861 sales YTD, 26% fewer than the first eight months of 2019.

Although the Bronx closed the first half of 2020 with the lowest median sale price of the four boroughs (as usual), it actually recorded the second-highest price increase. Specifically, its 8% Y-o-Y gain took its H1 median sale price from $420,000 in 2019 to $455,000 in 2020.

In particular, May brought a 33% price surge to the Bronx and lifted the median sale price to a year-to-date high of $531,000. Likewise, although July’s median was a more modest $493,500, it was still up 7% Y-o-Y — a notable achievement considering that July was the borough’s priciest month in 2019 up to that point. 

August came in 8% below July, but its $452,000 median represented a 13% Y-o-Y gain and continued the Bronx’s positive pricing trends that have been constant since the beginning of the crisis. All in all, the Bronx posted a median sale price of $463,000 YTD for a 9% gain over the same period last year.

From a pricing perspective, Brooklyn performed somewhat weaker in the first six months of the year. Its $750,000 median sale price was just 3% higher than it was in the first half of 2019. And, while 2020 transactional activity bottomed out at only 395 sales in May, Brooklyn’s median sale price surged to a year-to-date high of $820,000, followed closely by June’s $799,000 median sale price.

However, July brought an end to the borough’s positive price trends, registering a 9% Y-o-Y drop, followed by August with an equal 9% Y-o-Y contraction. As a result, Brooklyn’s August median stabilized at $691,631, becoming the lowest median sale price of the year in the borough. It also marked the first time that the median dropped below $700,000 this year.

Furthermore, the past two months’ pricing trends also depressed any pricing gains from H1, bringing Brooklyn’s year-to-date median to $748,414 for a .21% downtick compared to same period last year.

Along the same lines, Brooklyn’s August sales activity came in at 437 transactions, marking the second-slowest month of sales this year. In fact, only May had fewer sales (395), with April’s 439 deals almost tying August. That resulted in a 52% Y-o-Y drop in sales — the second-sharpest drop in transactional activity here in 2020.

As a result, the borough’s year-to-date sales activity went down by an additional 377 basis points, resulting in a 28% contraction compared to the first eight months of 2019.

Methodology

For this snapshot of the COVID-19 pandemic’s influence on the NYC residential market, we considered all sales of condo, co-op, single- and two-family homes registered between January 1, 2019, and August 31, 2019, as well as January 1, 2020, and August 31, 2020. We excluded all sales below $10,000, as well as all package deals. We defined NYC as the four boroughs of Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx and Queens.

August 25, 2019

Sales Surpass 2,000 for 1st Time Since March, as July Brings Increased Activity to NYC Housing Market

Key Takeaways:

  • Sales activity continued to strengthen in NYC, with July 2020 up 40% M-o-M and down only 33% Y-o-Y
  • Weekly sales surpassed 500 transactions for first time in 15 weeks, monthly sales top 2,000 for first time in four months
  • Queens median sale price marks first Y-o-Y drop, down 10% in July
  • At $1.065 million, Manhattan YTD median slides 15% below 2019 figures
  • The Bronx has highest price growth with July median up 7% Y-o-Y
  • Brooklyn median drops 9% Y-o-Y, virtually erasing year-to-date gains

After a tumultuous first half of the year, all of the state of New York is now in Phase Four of reopening, which means the performance of the residential market performance is of heightened interest. The year actually started off well, promising increased sales activity — until projections and expectations were shattered by the uncertainty and upheaval of March. It was followed by an April marked by historical lows in sales activity and the strongest pricing trends of 2020 up to that point. 

However, as the curve flattened and the general public started readjusting to the new normal, the state’s gradual reopening brought a tentative return of transactional activity in May. Then, June  presented a whole new picture with strengthening sales trends and the first significant year-over-year (Y-o-Y) price drop, despite recording the highest median sale price this year at $717,733.

July, however, posted the sharpest decrease of the four boroughs’ median sale price, and also marked the strongest month of sales since March.

Transactional activity, of course, has trended negative since the beginning of the crisis. March kicked off with sales activity 15% higher than the same period last year, only to see it drop 36% Y-o-Y by month’s end. Later, sales activity bottomed out in April — its 1,549 deals equated to a 61% Y-o-Y drop. And, while May’s 1,337 recorded sales were certainly a drop in sheer numbers compared to April, they also represented a decrease of only 52% Y-o-Y, promising a tentative return of transactional activity.

In June, sales trends strengthened even further and, at this point, the monthly sales activity was the highest since the beginning of the crisis in March. Specifically, there were 1,670 residential sales for the month, coming in just 41% lower Y-o-Y. However, it must be noted that June 2020 figures were skewed beyond just the pandemic’s effects – sales activity and the median sale price surged artificially in June 2019 as buyers and sellers rushed to close deals before the new mansion tax went into effect in July 2019.

Similarly, July marked only one week with fewer than 400 sales. What’s more, two weeks of the month surpassed 500 transactions — a level of transactional activity not seen since late March. In fact, the second week of the month totaled 562 sales, just four deals shy of equaling the last week of March.

What’s more, the third week of July recorded a 23% Y-o-Y drop — the smallest rate of contraction in sales activity since the third week of March. All in all, July’s sales activity was the most dynamic in the last four months, closing a total of 2,343 deals across the four boroughs for a drop of just 33% Y-o-Y. Moreover, compared to June, sales activity experienced a month-over-month surge of 40%.

While pricing trends remained firmly positive at the beginning of the crisis and the NYC median sale price remained steadily above the same period last year, that trend started shifting in June and reversed completely in July.

Specifically, both March and April boasted a 5% Y-o-Y price expansion. Moreover, each week in March also posted a median sale price higher than the same period in 2019 — a trend that remained steady throughout April. Overall, May kept up with that trend, as well, and closed with a median sale price of $705,000 for a 4% gain over May 2019.

Along the same lines, June 2020 kicked off with the strongest pricing trends so far this year. The NYC the median sale price was $743,000 in its first week, which pushed the month’s overall median to $717,700. This also made June 2020 the most expensive month YTD, even as it closed with a 2% Y-o-Y drop in its median, which was influenced, once again, by the artificially inflated pricing in June 2019.

July, however, presented a whole new picture. While the $780,000 median of July 2019 also reflected the pre-mansion tax sales frenzy that had occurred in the upper end of the market, this was not the sole cause of the 13% Y-o-Y drop that was recorded in July 2020. Rather, at $680,000, July 2020 featured the lowest median sale price since March, bringing down the YTD median for the four boroughs.

So, while the elevated pricing trends of Q2 resulted in a H1 median sale price of $690,000 and a 3% gain over H1 2019, the contrary pricing trends of July almost completely erased that. In particular, July 2019’s artificially inflated median — paired with a July 2020 that was more in line with pre-pandemic figures — brought the YTD median sale price in NYC to $687,419, representing a negligible .35% Y-o-Y gain. 

At the same time, year-to-date sales activity stood at 16,559 transactions, down 26% compared to the same timeframe last year. As a result, July’s recovering sales activity also decreased the YTD sales activity by only 1% Y-o-Y.

Manhattan was the hardest hit residential market in the city in the first half of the year. Here, sales activity was down 31% Y-o-Y and the median sale price dropped 13%. Specifically, the first half of 2019 totaled 5,487 residential sales for a median sale price of $1.2 million, while H1 2020 recorded 3,775 sales for a $1.05 million median. While pricing trends remained firmly positive in the other three boroughs throughout Q2, for Manhattan, that was the exception rather than the rule.

In fact, only April saw prices increase Y-o-Y reaching a YTD high of $1.34 million — while both March and June slipped under the $1 million mark, reaching $950,000 and $966,000, respectively. June’s median also resulted in a Y-o-Y price contraction of 37% — due, in part, to the rush to close high-end deals prior to the mansion tax during the year prior. From a sales activity perspective, July’s 633 sales made for Manhattan’s strongest month since the beginning of the crisis. That figure represented a 36% Y-o-Y drop in sales — the least-drastic decrease since March.

At the same time, the median sale price for NYC’s most expensive borough came in at $1.15 million, down 26% Y-o-Y. But, it must be noted that of all the boroughs, Manhattan’s year-ago metrics were the most influenced by the spike in sales of higher-priced assets prior to the mansion tax,  pushing July 2019’s median to $1.56 million. Additionally, Manhattan was the only borough to record M-o-M price growth in July, gaining 19% for a $1.15 million median in July.

On the other hand, Queens seemed to navigate the crisis in the calmest manner, all things considered. Its sales activity was down 22% Y-o-Y in the first half 2020, but its median sale price went up 10%, for the highest price increase across the four boroughs. In fact, although sales activity growth in the borough bottomed out at a negative 58% in April, the median sale price jumped 19% to reach a YTD high of $630,000, followed closely by June’s $619,000.

July, however, reversed the upward trend in price growth observed in the first half of the year, becoming the first month  in 2020 so far with negative price growth Y-o-Y. More precisely, at $576,500, Queens’ July median sale price was 10% below July 2019 — which, at $640,000, was 2019’s most expensive month up until that point. As a result, July 2020’s median was more in line with early 2020 pricing trends as opposed to the elevated medians recorded in Q2 and brought the borough’s YTD median to $584,500

Sales activity, however, strengthened in July, reaching 855 transactions and making this Queens’ most active month since March. In particular, July sales were down 28% Y-o-Y, resulting in the lowest rate of contraction in four months. Meanwhile, sales were up 55% compared to June — a promising sign in what is usually the most active borough for residential sales. Overall, that brought Queens’ YTD sales activity to 5,992 deals — 23% lower than the same period last year.

In the meantime, Bronx sales activity remained in negative growth territory Y-o-Y, coming in 22% below July 2019 for the lowest Y-o-Y decrease in sales activity across the four boroughs. But, the Bronx’s 260 sales recorded in July also represented a 60% increase M-o-M. That brought the borough’s number of sales to 1,679 YTD, for a 24% decrease compared to the first seven months of 2019.

Although the Bronx closed the first half of 2020 with the lowest median sale price of the four boroughs as usual, it actually recorded the second-highest price increase. Specifically, its 8% Y-o-Y gain took its H1 median sale price from $420,000 in 2019 to $455,000 in 2020. In fact, May brought a 33% price surge to the Bronx and lifted the median sale price to a YTD high of $531,000. Likewise, although July’s median was a more modest $493,500, it was still up 7% Y-o-Y – a notable achievement considering that July was 2019’s priciest month by that point.  

From a pricing perspective, Brooklyn performed somewhat weaker in the first six months of the year. Its $750,000 median sale price was just 3% higher than it was in the first half of 2019. And, while 2020 transactional activity bottomed out at only 395 sales in May, Brooklyn’s median sale price surged to a YTD high of $820,000, followed closely by June’s $799,000 median sale price.

July’s median came in at $742,500, down 9% compared to the July 2019 median of $815,000. As a result, the borough’s YTD median of $750,000 also represented a 1% increase over the same period last year.

However, Brooklyn’s YTD sales activity was down 24% compared to the same period last year, with a total of 4,480 sales recorded in the first seven months of the year. Sales activity here contracted at the least sharpest rate in H1, coming in 21% below the first half of 2019.

July sales activity, however, did not experience the same influential increase in Brooklyn as the other three boroughs. It came in 41% lower than July 2019. But, compared to June 2020, sales were up, with its 595 sales representing a 19% gain M-o-M.

Methodology

For this snapshot of the COVID-19 pandemic’s influence on the NYC residential market, we considered all sales of condo, co-op, single- and two-family homes registered between January 1, 2019, and August 2, 2019, as well as January 1, 2020, and July 31, 2020. We excluded all sales below $10,000, as well as all package deals. We defined NYC as the four boroughs of Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx and Queens.

July 14, 2020

NYC Residential Sales Down 25% Y-o-Y, Median Up 3% as Tumultuous H1 Closes

Key Takeaways:

  • Manhattan real estate market hit hardest of the four boroughs, both in terms of pricing as well as sales.
  • Queens median sale price up 10% Y-o-Y in H1 for highest increase in the four boroughs
  • Brooklyn sales activity contracted at the least sharpest rate, recording only -21% Y-o-Y in H1.
  • At $455,000, the Bronx’s median sale price gained 8% Y-o-Y.
  • NYC median sale price hit $718,000 in June for highest figure year-to-date.
  • Sales activity continued to strengthen across the four boroughs, but June 2020 remained 41% below June 2019.

With NYC now in Phase Three of reopening and the rest of the state in Phase Four, the residential market’s performance is of heightened interest, after a tumultuous first half of the year.  The year started off promising increased sales activity, only for projections and expectations to be shattered by the uncertainty and upheaval of March, followed by an April marked by historical lows in sales activity and the strongest pricing trends of 2020 by that point. 

As the curve flattened and the general public started becoming accustomed to the new normal, the state started slowly reopening and brought a tentative return of transactional activity in May. June, however, presented a whole new picture with strengthening sales trends and the first significant year-over-year price drop, despite recording the highest median sale price this year at $717,733.

Transactional activity, of course, has trended negative since the start of the crisis. Marched kicked off with sales activity in its first week 15% higher than the same period last year, only to see it drop 36% year-over-year by the end of the month.  Sales activity bottomed out in April at 61% below April 2019, with a mere 1,549 deals recorded in the four boroughs in the entire month.

May, however, brought a tentative return of transactional activity, with a total of 1,337 sales recorded. While that figure may have been lower than April’s 1,549 deals, year-over-year, May marked a 52% drop in sales activity, as opposed to April’s 61%. June saw sales trends strengthen further, with its monthly sales activity the highest since the start of the crisis in March, coming in just 41% lower year-over-year.

It must be noted that June 2020 figures are skewed beyond the pandemic’s effects, since sales activity and the median sale price surged artificially in June 2019 as NYC buyers and sellers rushed to close deals before the new mansion tax went into effect in July 2019. All in all, 1,670 residential sales were recorded between June 1 and June 28, 2020. Of this, 476 were recorded in the third week of the month, marking the strongest week of sales since late March.

Meanwhile, pricing trends were firmly positive through most of the crisis, and the median sale price in NYC remained steadily above the same period last year – until June. Specifically, both March and April boasted a 5% year-over-year price expansion. What’s more, each week of March also posted a median sale price higher than the same period in 2019 — a trend that remained steady throughout April.

June kicked off with the strongest pricing trends so far this year, posting a median sale price of $743,000, surpassing May figures. That represented a 2% gain over year-ago figures, a notable achievement considering June 2019 featured the strongest pricing trends of H1 2019. The rest of the month however, consistently posted weekly median sale prices lower than their year-ago correspondents – again due to the artificially strengthened pricing trends of 2019.

As a result, June marked the first noticeable year-over-year price contraction, coming in 2% below the year-ago median of $735,000. However, June 2020’s median sale price of $717,733 also marked the highest median sale price year-to-date, outpacing April and pushing May to the third spot. Additionally, June’s median pushed the median sale price for NYC in H1 up $5,000 – or 1% – in just one month.

All in all, year-to-date NYC saw a total of 14,216 sales, 25% fewer than in the first half of 2019. Pricing trends, however, remained positive, with the year-to-date median sale price across the four boroughs coming in at $690,000, for a 3% gain over H1 2019. Drilling down to the borough level, significant disparities arise when looking at the first half of 2020.

Manhattan emerged as the hardest hit residential market in the city, with H1 sales activity down 31% year-over-year and the median sale price 13% lower. Specifically, the first half of 2019 totaled 5,487 residential sales for a median sale price of $1.2 million, while H1 2020 recorded 3,775 sales for a $1.05 million median. While pricing trends remained firmly positive in the other three boroughs throughout the crisis, for Manhattan that was the exception rather than the rule.

Only April saw prices increase year-over-year, reaching a year-to-date high of $1.32 million. Furthermore, both March and June slipped under the million mark, reaching $950,000 and $966,000, respectively. In fact, June’s median resulted in a year-over-year price contraction of 37%. This was influenced not only by current conditions, but also by June 2019’s rush to close deals before the new mansion tax went into in effect in July 2019.

Queens, on the other hand, seemed to navigate the crisis through the calmest, all things considered. Its sales activity down 22% for the first six month of the year, but the median sale price went up 10%, for the highest price increase across the four boroughs.

In fact, as sales activity growth in the borough bottomed out at a negative 58% in April, the median sale price jumped 19% to reach a year-to-date high of $630,000, followed closely by June’s $619,000. Overall, Queens registered 5,137 sales in the first half of 2020 for a median sale price of $585,000. By comparison, H1 2019 saw 6,608 residential sales register at a $530,000 median.

Although the Bronx closed H1 2020 at the lowest median sale price of the four boroughs – as is usual – it recorded the second-highest price increase. Its 8% year-over year gain brought the H1’s median sale price from $420,000 in 2019 to $455,000 in 2020. In fact, May brought a 33% price surge to the Bronx, lifting the median sale price to a year-to-date high of $531,000.

Sales, on the other hand, contracted here too, bottoming out in May at only 131 transactions for a 53% year-over-year drop. All in all, the Bronx saw 1,419 residential sales in H1 2020, 25% fewer than during the same period last year.

Of the four boroughs, Brooklyn’s sales activity contracted the least in H1, recording 3,885 sales for a 21% drop year-over-year. In fact, by June, sales activity here was only 33% lower than in June 2019 – the strongest return of transactional activity across the four boroughs.

From a pricing perspective, Brooklyn performed somewhat weaker in the first six months of the year, with its $750,000 median sale price only 3% higher than in H1 2019.  While 2020 transactional activity bottomed out at only 395 sales in May, Brooklyn’s median sale price surged to year-to-date high of $820,000, followed closely by June’s $799,000 median sale price.

Methodology

For this snapshot of the COVID-19 pandemic’s influence on the NYC residential market, we considered all sales of condo, co-op, single- and two-family homes registered between January 1, 2019, and June 28, 2019, as well as January 1, 2020, and June 28, 2020. We excluded all sales below $10,000, as well as all package deals. We defined NYC as the four boroughs of Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx and Queens.

June 23, 2020

Number of Residential Sales Grows for Third Consecutive Week

 With NYC now in phase two of reopening and surrounding areas preparing for even more restrictions to be lifted, the residential market’s June performance is of heightened interest. This comes after the uncertainty and upheaval of March, an April marked by historical lows in sales activity and the strongest pricing trends of 2020, and the tentative return of transactional activity seen in May.

 June’s first half however presented a whole new picture with strengthening sales trends and the first significant year-over-year price drop.

Transactional activity, of course, has trended negative since the start of the crisis. Marched kicked off with sales activity in its first week 15% higher than the same period last year, only to see it drop 36% year-over-year by the end of the month.  Sales activity bottomed out in April at 61% below April 2019, with a mere 1,549 deals recorded in the four boroughs in the entire month.

May, however, brought a tentative return of transactional activity, with a total of 1,337 sales recorded. While that figure may have been lower than April’s 1,549 deals, year-over-year, May marked a 52% drop in sales activity, as opposed to April’s 61%. June 2020 will be a curious month to watch for transactional trends, considering that June 2019 saw surging sales activity as NYC buyers and sellers rushed to close deals before the new mansion tax went into effect in July 2019.

As a result, 813 deals were registered in the first week of June 2019, making it one of the most active weeks in term of sales activity in the first half of the year. By comparison, between June 1 and June 7 of the current year, 409 deals were recorded, representing a 50% year-over-year drop, but also a 48% week-over-week upsurge in sales activity.

Those first 409 deals were followed by 428 deals in the second week of June for a 5% week-over-week increase in sales activity, followed by an 11% gain in the third week of June.  A total of 476 sales were registered between June 15 and June 21, representing a 36% year-over year drop – the same as the last week of March. All in all, this marked the third consecutive week of tangible growth in sales activity, for the first time since February.

Meanwhile, pricing trends were firmly positive throughout the crisis, and the median sale price in NYC remained steadily above the same period last year. Specifically, both March and April boasted a 5% year-over-year price expansion. What’s more, each week of March also posted a median sale price higher than the same period in 2019 — a trend that remained steady throughout April.

Overall, May 2020 kept up with that trend too, with the exception of one week, which came in a -3% year-over-year. Despite that, May closed with a median sale price of $705,000, marking a 4% gain over May 2019. Additionally, this also made May the second-most expensive month in NYC this year, surpassed only by April’s $712,000 median.

June kicked off with the strongest pricing trends so far this year, posting a median sale price of $743,000, for the highest figure year-to-date. That represented a 2% gain over year-ago figures, a notable achievement considering June 2019 featured the strongest pricing trends of H1 2019. The second week of June 2020, however, posted a median sale price of $679,000, for an 11% year-over-year drop – this was also only the second time that 2020 weekly pricing figures were lower than their year-ago correspondents.

The third week of June closed with a median sale price of $700,000 for a 3% week-over-week gain. However, while it was one of the highest weekly median sale prices in 2020, it still came in 2% below year-ago levels.

All in all, year-to-date NYC saw a total of 13,859 sales, 25% fewer than during the same period last year. Pricing trends, however, were positive, with the year-to-date median sale price across the four boroughs coming in at $685,000, for a 2% gain over the same period last year.

Methodology

For this snapshot of the COVID-19 pandemic’s influence on the NYC residential market, we considered all sales of condo, co-op, single- and two-family homes registered between January 1, 2019, and June 28, 2019, as well as January 1, 2020, and June 21, 2020. We excluded all sales below $10,000, as well as all package deals. All figures were calculated at city level, regardless of borough. We defined NYC as the four boroughs of Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx and Queens.

June 18, 2020

Second Week of June Records 428 Transactions for The Highest Number of Sales Since Late March

As NYC enters phase one of reopening and surrounding areas prepare for even more restrictions to be lifted, the residential market’s June performance is of heightened interest. This comes after the uncertainty and upheaval of March, an April marked by historical lows in sales activity and the strongest pricing trends of 2020, and the tentative return of transactional activity seen in May.

June’s first half however presents a whole new picture with strengthening sales trends and the first significant year-over-year price drop.

Transactional activity, of course, has trended negative since the start of the crisis. Marched kicked off with sales activity in its first week 15% higher than the same period last year, only to see it drop 36% year-over-year by the end of the month.  Sales activity bottomed out in April at 61% below April 2019, with a mere 1,549 deals recorded in the four boroughs in the entire month.

May, however, brought a tentative return of transactional activity, with a total of 1,337 sales recorded. While that figure may have been lower than April’s 1,549 deals, year-over-year, May marked a 52% drop in sales activity, as opposed to April’s 61%. June 2020 will be a curious month to watch for transactional trends, considering that June 2019 saw surging sales activity as NYC buyers and sellers rushed to close deals before the new mansion tax went into effect in July 2019.

As a result, 813 deals were registered in the first week of June 2019, making it one of the most active weeks in term of sales activity in the first half of the year. By comparison, between June 1 and June 7 of the current year, 409 deals were recorded, representing a 50% year-over-year drop, but also a 48% week-over-week upsurge in sales activity.

Indeed, the first week of June was the most active week in terms of transactional activity since late March, by a significant margin, only to be surpassed by the second week of the month with 428 deals, for a 5% week-over-week increase. The 428 transactions also resulted in a 35% drop year-over-year, marking the lowest year-over-year drop in sales activity since late March.

Meanwhile, pricing trends were firmly positive throughout the crisis, and the median sale price in NYC remained steadily above the same period last year. Specifically, both March and April boasted a 5% year-over-year price expansion. What’s more, each week of March also posted a median sale price higher than the same period in 2019 — a trend that remained steady throughout April.

Overall, May 2020 kept up with that trend too, with the exception of one week, which came in a -3% year-over-year. Despite that, May closed with a median sale price of $705,000, marking a 4% gain over May 2019. Additionally, this also made May the second-most expensive month in NYC this year, surpassed only by April’s $712,000 median.

June kicked off with the strongest pricing trends so far this year, posting a median sale price of $743,000, for the highest figure year-to-date. That represented a 2% gain over year-ago figures, a notable achievement considering June 2019 featured the strongest pricing trends of H1 2019.

The second week of June 2020, however, posted a median sale price of $679,000, for a week-over-week drop of 9% – the sharpest week-over-week decrease since the start of the crisis. More importantly, it also represented an 11% year-over-year drop, marking the second time only that 2020 weekly pricing figures were lower than their year-ago correspondents. It also brought June’s median sale price to $705,000, at a tie with May 2020 and 5% lower than the first two weeks of June 2019.

All in all, year-to-date NYC saw a total of 13,383 sales, 24% fewer than during the same period last year. Pricing trends, however, were positive, with the year-to-date median sale price across the four boroughs coming in at $685,000, for a 2% gain over the same period last year.

Methodology

For this snapshot of the COVID-19 pandemic’s influence on the NYC residential market, we considered all sales of condo, co-op, single- and two-family homes registered between January 1, 2019, and June 28, 2019, as well as January 1, 2020, and June 14, 2020. We excluded all sales below $10,000, as well as all package deals. All figures were calculated at city level, regardless of borough. We defined NYC as the four boroughs of Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx and Queens.

June 11, 2020

June Kicks Off with New Pricing High, Hitting $743K Median Sale Price

As NYC enters phase one of reopening and surrounding areas prepare for even more restrictions to be lifted, the residential market’s June performance is of heightened interest. This comes after the uncertainty and upheaval of March, an April marked by historical lows in sales activity and the strongest pricing trends of 2020, and the tentative return of transactional activity seen in May. June’s first week however, brought new hopes of the market returning to normal, with sales activity on the rise and, at $743,000, the highest median sale price of the year so far.

Transactional activity, of course, has trended negative since the start of the crisis. Marched kicked off with sales activity in its first week 15% higher than the same period last year, only to see it drop 36% year-over-year by the end of the month.  Sales activity bottomed out in April at 61% below April 2019, with a mere 1,549 deals recorded in the four boroughs in the entire month.

May, however, brought a tentative return of transactional activity, with a total of 1,337 sales recorded. While that figure may have been lower than April’s 1,549 deals, year-over-year, May marked a 52% drop in sales activity, as opposed to April’s 61%. June 2020 will be a curious month to watch for transactional trends, considering that June 2019 saw surging sales activity as NYC buyers and sellers rushed to close deals before the new mansion tax went into effect in July 2019.

As a result, 813 deals were registered in the first week of June 2019, making it one of the most active weeks in term of sales activity in the first half of the year. By comparison, between June 1 and June 7 of the current year, 409 deals were recorded, representing a 50% year-over-year drop, but also a 48% week-over-week upsurge in sales activity. Indeed, the first week of June was the most active week in terms of transactional activity since late March, by a significant margin.

Meanwhile, pricing trends were firmly positive throughout the crisis, and the median sale price in NYC remained steadily above the same period last year. Specifically, both March and April boasted a 5% year-over-year price expansion. What’s more, each week of March also posted a median sale price higher than the same period in 2019 — a trend that remained steady throughout April.

May too, recorded pricing increases throughout, with the exception of one week, which came in a mild 3% below year-ago figures and marked the first – and only – negative year-over-year price growth in 2020. Overall, May 2020 closed with a median sale price of $705,000, marking a 4% gain over May 2019. Additionally, this also made May the second-most expensive month in NYC this year.

June kicked off with the strongest pricing trends so far this year, posting a median sale price of $743,000. That represented a 2% gain over year-ago figures, a notable achievement considering June 2019 featured the strongest pricing trends of H1 2019. Additionally, last week’s $743,000 median sale price was the highest figure so far in 2020.

All in all, year-to-date NYC saw a total of 12,955 sales, 23% fewer than during the same period last year. Pricing trends, however, were positive, with the year-to-date median sale price across the four boroughs coming in at $685,000, for a 2% gain over the same period last year.

Methodology

For this snapshot of the COVID-19 pandemic’s influence on the NYC residential market, we considered all sales of condo, co-op, single- and two-family homes registered between January 1, 2019, and June 28, 2019, as well as January 1, 2020, and June 7, 2020. We excluded all sales below $10,000, as well as all package deals. All figures were calculated at city level, regardless of borough. We defined NYC as the four boroughs of Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx and Queens.

June 4, 2020

Year-to-Date Residential Sales Down 22% in NYC, Pricing Up 5%

As NYC readies itself to reopen and surrounding areas prepare for even more restrictions to be lifted, the residential market’s May performance is of heightened interest. This comes after the uncertainty and upheaval of March, as well as an April that was marked by historical lows in sales activity and the strongest pricing trends of in 2020.

Transactional activity, of course, has trended negative since the start of the crisis. Marched kicked off with sales activity in its first week 15% higher than the same period last year, only to see transactional activity drop 36% year-over-year by the end of the month.  Sales activity bottomed out in April at 61% below April 2019, with a mere 1,549 deals recorded in the four boroughs.

However, May kicked off with noticeably stronger sales trends than April, registering 737 deals in the first half of the month. And, while that still put May’s sales activity 51% below the same period last year, for some, it also signaled a gradual return for transactional activity. But the market is far from firm ground. The third week of May came in 56% below the same period last year, making it the slowest week for transactional activity in a month, until last week.

The fourth week of the month saw only 276 deals registered, making it the slowest week since late April. However, May 2019’s last week also saw low sales activity, resulting in a year-over-year contraction in transactional activity of 49% – 48.7% to be specific – for the least drastic year-over-year drop since late March 2020. Overall, that brought May 2020’s total to 1,337 residential transactions, 52% below year-ago levels.

Meanwhile, pricing trends were firmly positive throughout the crisis, and the median sale price in NYC remained steadily above the same period last year. Specifically, both March and April boasted a 5% year-over-year price expansion. What’s more, each week of March also posted a median sale price higher than the same period in 2019 — a trend that remained steady throughout April.

Then, featuring a median sale price of $734,000, the first week of May reinforced 2020’s strong pricing trends to become the second-most expensive week of the year to date. But, at $676,500, the median sale price in second week of May came in 3% below the same period last year and marking the first – and only – negative year-over-year price growth in 2020.

Most recently, the last week of May clocked in at $730,000, gaining 10% over year-ago figures. As a result, May’s median sale price stabilized at $705,000, for a 4% year-over-year price gain. Additionally, this also made May the second-most expensive month in NYC this year.

All in all, year-to-date NYC saw a total of 12,546 sales register, 22% fewer than during the same period last year. Pricing trends, however, were positive, with the year-to-date median sale price across the four boroughs coming in at $638,400, for a 5% gain over the same period last year.

Methodology

For this snapshot of the COVID-19 pandemic’s influence on the NYC residential market, we considered all sales of condo, co-op, single- and two-family homes registered between January 1, 2019, and May 31, 2019, as well as January 1, 2020, and May 31, 2020. We excluded all sales below $10,000, as well as all package deals. All figures were calculated at city level, regardless of borough. We defined NYC as the four boroughs of Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx and Queens.

May 25, 2020

Stronger Than April, May Sales Still Down 53% Y-o-Y

As the health crisis stabilizes in the city and surrounding areas begin reopening, the industry is watching May with hopes of returning activity and buyer interest. This comes after the uncertainty and upheaval of March, as well as an April that was marked by historical lows in sales activity and the strongest pricing trends of in 2020.

Transactional activity, of course, has trended negative since the start of the crisis. Sales activity plummeted from the second week of March until it finally levelled out in April at around 61% below year-ago figures, bringing the first trimester’s sales activity finished 16% below the same period last year. 

However, May kicked off with noticeably stronger sales trends than April, registering 737 deals in the first half of the month. And, while that still put May’s sales activity 51% below the same period last year, for some, it also signaled a gradual return for transactional activity. But, the market is far from firm groundThe third week of May came in 56% below the same period last year — a percentage equivalent to the last week of April.

In fact, the third week of May 2020 registered only 324 sales, marking the slowest week for transactional activity in a month. As a result, not only was the week of May 17 through May 24 the slowest since mid-April, but it also marked the sharpest week-over-week contraction since mid-April, as well, dropping 11%. This came after the second week of May 2020 showed a 49% year-over-year contraction — the lowest drop in transactional activity in seven weeks.

Meanwhile, pricing trends were firmly positive throughout the crisis, and the median sale price in NYC remained steadily above the same period last year. Specifically, both March and April boasted a 5% year-over-year price expansion. What’s more, each week of March also posted a median sale price higher than the same period in 2019 — a trend that remained steady throughout April.

Then, featuring a median sale price of $734,000, the first week of May reinforced 2020’s strong pricing trends to become the second-most expensive week of the year to date. But, at $676,500, the second week of May underwent an 8% contraction in its week-over-week median sale price — the sharpest rate of decline since the crisis began. More significantly, though, its $676,500 median sale price was 3% below the same period last year, marking the first negative year-over-year price growth in 2020.

Most recently, the third week of the month came in at a median sale price of $688,300, gaining 2% over the previous week and a negligible 0.48% over year-ago figures. As a result, May’s median sale price stabilized at $700,000 for a mere 2% gain over May 2019 — the smallest year-over-year price growth of any month in 2020 thus far.  

Methodology

For this snapshot of the COVID-19 pandemic’s influence on the NYC residential market, we considered all sales of condo, co-op, single- and two-family homes registered between January 1, 2019, and May 31, 2019, as well as January 1, 2020, and May 24, 2020. We excluded all sales below $10,000, as well as all package deals. All figures were calculated at city level, regardless of borough. We defined NYC as the four boroughs of Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx and Queens.

May 20, 2020

May Sales Trends Show Signs of Tentatively Returning Activity

As the health crisis stabilizes in the city and surrounding areas begin reopening, the industry is watching May with hopes of returning activity and buyer interest. This comes after the uncertainty and upheaval of March, as well as an April that was marked by historical lows in sales activity and the strongest pricing trends of in 2020.

Transactional activity, of course, has trended negative since the start of the crisis. Sales activity plummeted from the second week of March until it finally levelled out in April at around 61% below year-ago figures. The first four month’s sales activity finished 16% below the same period last year. 

However, May kicked off with noticeably stronger sales trends than April, registering 737 deals in the first half of the month. And, while that still puts May’s sales activity 51% below the same period last year, it also signals a gradual return for transactional activity.

The first week of the month was also the second consecutive week for gains in sales activity — inching up 13% after the last week of April, which had shown modest signs of increased activity. However, while the 364 deals closed in the second week of May this year represented a 2% week-over-week contraction in sales activity, it must be noted the second week of May 2019 was also weaker than the first. As a result, the second week of May 2020 showed a 49% year-over-year contraction — the lowest drop in transactional activity in seven weeks.

Meanwhile, pricing trends were firmly positive throughout the crisis, and the median sale price in NYC remained steadily above the same period last year. In particular, both March and April boasted a 5% year-over-year price expansion. What’s more, each week of March also posted a median sale price higher than the same period in 2019 — a trend that remained steady throughout April.

In fact, the third week of April posted the highest median sale price in 2020 so far, reaching $750,000. Then, the first week of May reinforced 2020’s strong pricing trends. Its median sale price of $734,000 was the second-most expensive week of the year to date.

However, the second week of the month disrupted that trend. At $676,500, it underwent an 8% contraction in its week-over-week median sale price — the sharpest rate of decline since the start of the crisis. More significantly, though, its $676,500 median sale price was 2% below the same period last year, marking the first negative year-over-year price growth in 2020.

Methodology

For this snapshot of the COVID-19 pandemic’s influence on the NYC residential market, we considered all sales of condo, co-op, single- and two-family homes registered between January 1, 2019, and May 31, 2019, as well as January 1, 2020, and May 17, 2020. We excluded all sales below $10,000, as well as all package deals. All figures were calculated at city level, regardless of borough.

May 15, 2020

May Starts with Sales Activity Down 52%, While Median Sale Price Climbs to $734K

Following the uncertainty and upheaval of March, April was marked by historical lows in sales activity and the strongest pricing trends of the year. As the health crisis stabilizes in the city and surrounding areas start opening up, the industry is watching May with hopes of returning activity and buyer interest.

Transactional activity, of course, has trended negative since the start of the crisis. Sales activity plummeted from the second week of March to level out in April at around 61% below year-ago figures, bringing the first four months’ sales activity to 16% below the same period last year. 

May kicked off with 373 deals registered in the first week, the highest figure since late March. As such, the first week of the month had 13% more sales than the last week of April, but still came in 52% below year-ago figures.

The first week of the month was also the second consecutive week for sales activity gains, inching up 13% after the last week of April had shown modest signs of increased activity. Its 329 sales were April’s highest weekly figure and represented a 19% week-over-week gain in sales activity, marking the first time since the start of the crisis that sales activity saw double-digit positive gains from one week to the other.

Pricing trends continued to remain firmly positive. Throughout the crisis, the median sale price in NYC remained steadily above the same period last year. Both March and April boasted a 5% year-over-year price expansion. Each week of March posted a median sale price higher than the same period in 2019, a trend that remained steady throughout April.

At $724,900, the first week of April featured the highest median sale price of 2020 by that point, only to be surpassed by the third week of the April with its $750,000 median. Featuring a median sale price of $734,000, the first week of May reinforced 2020’s strong pricing trends to become the second-most expensive week of the year to date.

In fact, that $734,000 median sale price represented a 10% gain over the same period last year, for the second-strongest year-over-year gain so far in 2020.

Methodology

For this snapshot of the COVID-19 pandemic’s influence on the NYC residential market, we considered all sales of condo, co-op, single- and two-family homes registered between January 1, 2019, and May 31, 2019, as well as January 1, 2020, and May 8, 2020. We excluded all sales below $10,000, as well as all package deals. All figures were calculated at city level, regardless of borough.

May 7, 2020

April Residential Sales Down 61%, Median Sale Price Climbs to $712K

Following the uncertainty and upheaval of March, the performance of the NYC residential market in April has become increasingly important. After all, how does such a vibrant real estate market adapt and react to the necessary safety measures?

Transactional activity, of course, has trended negative since the start of the crisis. Sales fell by 62% year-over-year by the first week of April and stayed within a six-percentile margin of that figure. As a result, sales activity for the entire month was down 61% year-over-year, with a total of 1,549 sales registered.

April kicked off with only 298 deals registered – representing a 62% year-over-year drop and the slowest week for transactional activity by that point. However, the fourth week of the month saw only 276 deals register, becoming the slowest week year-to-date. It also registered the sharpest drop so far in 2020, coming in 65% below the same period last year.

Overall, the last week of April has shown modest signs of increased activity. Its 329 sales were the month’s highest weekly figure – although it only registered seven more sales than the second week of the month. More noteworthy was its 19% week-over-week gain in sales activity, marking the first time since the start of the crisis that sales activity saw double-digit positive gains from one week to the other.

Pricing, on the other hand, continued to strengthen. After March closed at a median sale price of $675,000 for a nearly 5% year-over-year gain, April posted the highest median sale price year-to-date at $712,000 – an increase of 5.48% year-over-year. Each week of March posted a median sale price higher than the same period in 2019, a trend that remained steady throughout April.

In fact, at $724,900, the first week of April featured the highest median sale price of 2020 by that point, only to be surpassed by the third week of the April with its $750,000 median.

Methodology

For this snapshot of the COVID-19 pandemic’s influence on the NYC residential market, we considered all sales of condo, co-op, single- and two-family homes registered between January 1, 2019, and May 3, 2019, as well as January 1, 2020, and May 1, 2020. We excluded all sales below $10,000, as well as all package deals. All figures were calculated at city level, regardless of borough.

April 16, 2020

April Residential Sales Down 62%, Pricing Continues Upward Trajectory

As expected, transactional activity has trended downward since the crisis began. In particular, the effects really started to show in the fourth week of March – which came in 37% below the same period last year – obliterating the month’s entire year-over-year gain.

Sales Activity Contraction Accelerates to 62% Y-o-Y

The first week of April had an even sharper plunge in sales activity with only 298 deals registered,  a 62% year-over-year drop. It was followed by 322 deals in the second week of April – still a 61% year-over-year contraction, but also a surprising 8% week-over-week uptick.

Overall, that places the first two weeks of April a whopping 62% below the same period in 2019 in terms of sales activity. However, in terms of pricing, trends have been positive thus far.

April Begins with 5% Y-o-Y Pricing Gain

The month of March closed out at a median sale price of $675,000 for a 5% year-over-year gain. In fact, each week in March posted a median sale price higher than the same period in 2019, a trend that has continued into April, as well.

Specifically, at $716,500, April’s first two weeks posted a median sale price 10% higher than year-ago figures. Moreover, at $724,900, the first week of April also recorded the highest median sale price year-to-date.

Methodology

For this snapshot of the COVID-19 pandemic’s influence on the NYC residential market, we considered all sales of condo, co-op, single- and two-family homes registered between January 1, 2019, and April 12, 2019, as well as January 1, 2020, and April 10, 2020. We excluded all sales below $10,000, as well as all package deals. All figures were calculated at city level, regardless of borough.

March 31, 2020

COVID-19 Slashes Q1 Sales Growth in Half for NYC Residential Market

Just one week ago, the effects of COVID-19 had yet to appear in officially registered sales data, due to the usual lag between an actual sale and the date of its registration. In fact, analyzing ACRIS-recorded sales data, Q1 remained elevated across the board, up to and including March 20. Similarly, the first quarter of the year showed an 8% gain in NYC residential sales compared to the same period last year.

However, with the addition of last week’s sales data – which marked the slowest week of residential sales registered in 2020 so far – that growth has been effectively halved, with Q1 2020 coming in at only 3.45% over Q1 2019.

March Sales Go From 6% Gain to 6% Drop in One Week

Indeed, between March 23 and March 27, only 566 residential sales were registered in NYC, making it the slowest week of sales so far this year. The second-slowest week in 2020 was January 27-31 with 614 registered sales. While sales activity remained strong through the first three weeks of the month – showing a 6% year-over-year increase – the fourth week not only erased that growth, but also reversed it and pulled into the negative.

Thus, overall sales activity in March 2020 ended 6% below March 2019 figures, with 2,909 transactions as opposed to 3,102 in March 2019.

Unfortunately, the last week of the month was particularly crucial for this quarter’s performance, as the fourth week of March 2019 had posted the highest number of sales in the entire first quarter of 2019 with 889 registered transactions. In comparison, the fourth week of March 2020 experienced a 36% contraction in sales activity, marking the sharpest drop in Q1 this year by far.

As a matter of fact, only three weeks were weaker in terms of transactional activity compared to the same period last year – none of which dropped by more than 3%.  

Pricing Uptick Pushes Monthly Median Sale Price Up 1%

While sales activity data for the last week of March began reflecting COVID-19’s arrival in NYC, pricing metrics actually showed an uptick. For example, the 566 sales registered between March 23 and March 27, 2020, had a median sale price of $687,500, resulting in an 8% gain over the last week of March 2019, and its $638,600 median.

Moreover, that 8% hike also made last week the second strongest for price growth in 2020, following only the second week of January, in which the median sale price gained 9%.

Meanwhile, last week’s positive price trend and the actual median sale price bumped up the median sale price for the entire month of March by $5,000 to reach $675,000 city-wide. This also resulted in a slight bump in the year-over-year median sale price growth rate.

Specifically, while the median sale price for the first three weeks of the month was up 4% over March 2019, last week’s registered sales pushed that gain up to 5%. Yet, the uptick was still not significant enough to affect the overall median sale price for Q1, which remained steady at $670,000, an increase of 4% over Q1 2019.

Methodology

For this snapshot of the COVID-19 pandemic’s influence on the NYC residential market, we considered all sales of condo, co-op, single- and two-family homes registered between January 1, 2019, and March 28, 2019, as well as January 1, 2020, and March 27, 2020. We excluded all sales below $10,000, as well as all package deals. All figures were calculated at city level, regardless of borough.

March 24, 2020

Q1 Figures Yet to Reflect COVID-19 Impact on NYC Residential Market

After a sluggish 2019, 2020 began with increased sales activity in the NYC residential market, with the year expected to be a strong one for the industry. Analyzing ACRIS-recorded sales data, Q1 remained up across the board, up to and including March 20.

However, it’s essential to keep in mind the time delay between the actual time of sale and a sale being registered. As such, any effect of the current situation on the ground, especially due to its rapidly changing nature, will appear with a delayed effect in official figures. We will continue to monitor registered sales for as long as that remains possible.

The year kicked off with gains in both pricing and sales activity in the NYC residential market. There were 3,553 sales registered in January representing a 6% year-over-year increase paired with a nearly 5% increase in the median sale price, which closed the month at $675,000.

Bar chart of the NYC Residential Median Sale Price in January, February and March of 2019 and 2020

February’s median sale price of $668,277 was the result of a more modest growth rate, but still reached a 3% uptick over the city’s February 2019 median. What’s more, sales activity grew at a sharper rate in February, with the month’s 3,198 transactions representing a 10% year-over-year increase.

“In January and early February, there was an industry consensus that the market was picking up organically,” said Jacques Cohen, leader of The Jacques Cohen Team at Compass. “We began to see an uptick in showings and contracts across the board in many different price points, neighborhoods and size ranges, indicating a general increase in demand.

Bar chart of NYC Residential Sales Activity in January, February and March of 2019 and 2020

“This was significantly due to appetizing mortgage rates, strong employment and earnings, and ‘Sideline Syndrome,’ the latter implying that those who had been sitting on the sidelines for four years between 2016-2019 ‘waiting for the right time to strike’ finally decided to make a move and got tired of sitting on the sidelines,” Cohen detailed.

March Madness or Business as Usual?

When comparing sales registered between March 1 and March 20, neither pricing nor transactional trends reflected the growing threat of COVID-19. Granted, there can be a significant time lapse between signing and registering a deal, but sales activity in the first three weeks of March was already up 6% over the same period last year, with 2,343 registered deals. The median sale price was also trending positive with a 4% year-over-year gain, coming in at $670,000.

Bar chart of the NYC Median Sale Price in March 2019 and 2020 portraying the first 3 weeks

However, breaking down March figures to a weekly level, there was somewhat more fluctuation. Specifically, the first week of March saw 866 sales registered 16% above the same period last year. That also marked the second-strongest week of sales year-to-date, following only the second week of February, in which 892 sales were registered. And, while sales activity during the second week of March finished half a percentage point below the same period in 2019, the difference represented a mere five sales: 741 versus 745.

The third week of March up to and including March 20 also showed positive trends across the board. In particular, 736 residential deals were registered, representing a modest 2% uptick over the same period in 2019. Furthermore, the median sale price hit $699,500 – a 5% year-over-year gain – making it the second-priciest week of 2020. Only the first week of the year managed to post a higher median sale price at $702,500.

Bar chart of NYC Residential Sales Activity in March 2019 and 2020 portraying the first 3 weeks

As the situation takes full effect on the ground, the NYC residential market will undoubtedly reflect it, increasing the likelihood of a sluggish second quarter. However, the situation remains fluid, negating any value in short-term speculation.

Expert Insight: “The Only Variable Is Time”

Currently, the real estate industry as a whole is at its most advanced level of digital penetration in history. For instance, negotiations, creative brainstorming, continuing education and licensure renewals, market analysis, business and marketing plans can all be executed digitally through online collaborations. Furthermore, virtual tours via video chat are surging, signaling continued consumer interest and perhaps giving the industry a peek at a rapidly approaching future way of doing business.

Professional photo of Jacques Cohen
Jacques Cohen
Leader of The Jacques Cohen Team at Compass Midtown Manhattan

“The current situation is so dynamic and fluid,” Cohen said when reached for personal insight. “It is nearly impossible to give any accurate short-term diagnosis. Although transactional activity might be temporarily halted due to the practical impediments created by COVID-19, the macro picture will most likely be very positive, and transactional hunger will return with a vengeance as soon as this passes or is brought under relative control.”

So, what now? When prompted for advice for brokers and sellers, Cohen wrote, “Stay calm. Do not make hasty or panicked decisions. This will pass. The only variable is time. That variable can be influenced by our current behavior and conduct. We should follow the latest instructions and mandates from our state and local authorities, maintain social distancing and be responsible to our fellow citizens by remaining indoors.”

Methodology

For this snapshot of COVID-19’s influence on the NYC residential market, we took into account all sales of condo, co-op, single- and two-family homes registered between January 1, 2019, and March 20, 2019, as well as January 1, 2020, and March 20, 2020.  We excluded all sales below $10,000, as well as all package deals. All figures were calculated at city level, regardless of borough.

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. Reach her at eliza.thei[email protected]