Manhattan Shifts To A Seller’s Market In The Second Quarter

The New York City borough of Manhattan has shifted to a seller's market (GETTY).

The second quarter of 2021 was the busiest since at least 2004 for the Manhattan residential scene, continuing a shift to a seller’s market, according to a recent report from real estate data firm UrbanDigs.

More than 4,380 deals were signed in the second quarter, up more than 24% from the previous quarter, and an increase of nearly 600% from a year ago.

The four-bedroom luxury apartment at 15 West 63rd St. is priced at just under $10 million.

The four-bedroom luxury residence at 15 West 63rd St. is priced at just under $10 million (WARBURG REALTY).

Over the same time period, the number of new listings rose nearly 33% to more than 5,700. This is the largest number of new listings during any second quarter in UrbanDigs’ data set, which goes back to 2004, though it remains shy of the record of 6,375 set during the third quarter of 2020, as the market reopened during the pandemic.

Also last quarter, the dollar volume of contracts signed surged to nearly $10 billion, 30% higher than the next closest quarter, the second of 2015, and nearly 750% higher than the same period a year ago.

Meanwhile, time on the market dropped 45% to 66 days, as buyer demand increased.

This four-bedroom apartment at 52 East End Ave., listed for $9.995 million, is the type of larger unit in high demand.

This four-bedroom apartment at 52 East End Ave., listed for $9.995 million, is the type of larger unit in high demand (WARBURG REALTY).

Prices are also up, and any pandemic discounts are long gone. The median price in Manhattan increased 6.4% from the first quarter and 14% from a year ago to $1.14 million.

Not surprisingly, larger units are in high demand. Compared to the previous quarter, the median price of units with three or more bedrooms rose nearly 7% to $3.1 million, while the median price of studios slipped 2% to $600,000.

In his own market report, Frederick Warburg Peters, the chief executive officer of Warburg Realty notes that the past quarter was historic.

“Every week since February has seen more than 30 contracts signed at $4 million and over, the most extraordinary run since before the 2008 recession,” Peters wrote in his report. “In New York, the upward price creep has begun, especially for units priced under $5 million and the hottest new condominiums. It has been one of the hottest springs on record (in every sense) and the real estate community anticipates a busy summer ahead.”

A studio apartment.

The median price for a studio, like this one at 15 West 12th St., listed for $650,000, was down 2% (WARBURG REALTY).

Maria Daou, a broker at Warburg Realty, called the second quarter a “frenzy.”

“This was my busiest quarter in 22 years of real estate,” Daou says.

The quarter also saw an end to the buyer’s market in Manhattan.

“There are not as many deals to be had as there were earlier this year,” says Becki Danchik, a broker at Warburg Realty. “There are still buyers out there who think they are going to get a deep discount, but those days are over.”

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I’ve been working as a journalist in the New York metro area for more than a decade and have developed a specialization in luxury real estate, writing about everything from the post-recession housing market in Fairfield County, Connecticut, to the third-home market in the Hamptons. I’m currently also a regular contributor to Newsday and Hamptons Cottages & Gardens. If you spot me in my Brooklyn neighborhood and I’m not knitting, I’m probably admiring the beautiful Victorians that surround my apartment building (and trying to figure out what they would sell for).

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