Manhattan’s residential real estate market, propelled by listing volume not seen in roughly five years, continued its frenzied pace into April thanks in part to steady increases in new listings and contracts signed.
Continued high demand in Manhattan’s residential sector resulted in approximately 730 contracts signed from April 9-April 22, according to a report from housing data provider UrbanDigs. The number of contracts signed—including about 400 deals stuck between April 16-April 22—was a 7% increase from the previous two weeks and a 95% uptick year-over-year.
The steady increase in sales reflects a market that has rebounded considerably from the cooling effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, with low interest rates and a wealth of new inventory pulling many hesitant buyers back into the market.
“Incessant demand pushed Manhattan into a seller’s market, and the sellers responded in kind,” said UrbanDigs co-founder John Walkup in the report. “Looking forward, only a month or so of the active spring season remains, suggesting that we may see a continued flurry of activity before thoughts turn to much-anticipated post-pandemic summer activities, such as travel.”
Listing volume has helped to accelerate improving market conditions. The number of new listings in Manhattan increased 13% from the previous two weeks (918 to 1,040). That marks the highest bi-weekly number of new listings since May 2016 and the second-highest number since 2008, according to the report.
Buyers have been leveraging low interest rates and increased supply to purchase larger, more expensive properties at lower prices in terms of price-per-square-foot. This has resulted in a divergence between two data points that have traditionally been tied to one another: the median price and the median price-per-square-foot.
Why does this matter? Walkup describes the latter metric as a “better barometer of value for a piece of Manhattan.”
“Typically, as seen from 2008 through 2017, these metrics move with one another. However, starting in late 2017 and early 2018, they began to diverge,” Walkup explains in the report. “Fast-forward to the pandemic, and we see median prices dip sharply and then recover, whereas price-per-square-foot dipped, but has only started to recover. So, what’s happening? The answer is that people are buying larger units at a lower price-per-square-foot.”
On the rental side, the number of leases signed continued to trend upward with a 14% increase compared with the previous two weeks (1,647 to 1,885) and a 30% increase year over year. New listings in Manhattan also saw a 6% increase in mid-April, jumping from 1,459 to 1,553, while rental units taken off the market decreased 34% week-over-week.