Manhattan’s Townhouse Market Heats Up As Buying Season Springs To Life

luxury townhouse in west village manhattan new york city
A four-bedroom townhome in West Village listed for $10.95 million. The market for Manhattan townhouses is heating up, according to a new report from UrbanDigs. (Warburg Realty)

As the spring sales season opens for business, the housing market in New York City is heating up, with townhouse units being among the most sought after by Manhattan buyers.

The market for townhouses in New York City is the strongest it’s been since 2015, according to a new report from UrbanDigs, as homebuyers continue to prioritize larger, more private residences during the pandemic. Sales data comparing the quarterly ratio of contracts signed to new listings showed that demand for Manhattan’s townhouse units has continued an upward trajectory since bottoming out in early 2020 at the onset of COVID-19.

graphy showing relative demand for manhattan townhouse units new york city

Quarterly ratio of Manhattan contracts signed to new listings from 2015-2021. (UrbanDigs | Datawrapper)

“Townhouses are in high demand as the pandemic has caused buyers to reevaluate how they want to live,” said Warburg Realty broker Susan Abrams. “In Manhattan, it is difficult to find apartments over 4000-5000 square feet. If you are seeking a large, sprawling space, a townhouse is often your best option.”

Before the pandemic, the townhouse market in New York City was amid an overall decline in terms of relative demand, with the availability of newer, highly-amenitized condo units and the introduction of the 2019 mansion tax contributing to the downturn.

outdoor deck patio at 42 Jane Street west village manhattan townhouse

In the COVID era, Manhattan homebuyers are gravitating back to extra space that townhouses provide. (Warburg Realty)

Abrams noted that privacy and outdoor space — two features hard to come by in larger condo developments — are now high on many buyer’s wishlists.

And there are plenty of wishlists to go around. According to UrbanDigs, the Manhattan market saw more than 400 new listings come online during the second week of March, the highest amount of new listings since October last year. The number of signed contracts declined slightly (falling from 322 to 304) but remained up more than 30% from the previous year.

lenox hill townhouse with builtin bookshelves manhattan nyc

Warburg Realty represented the seller of this Lenox Hill townhouse that sold in February for $7.495 million. (Warburg Realty)

Broker Elizabeth Helene O’Neill of Warburg Realty said that there’s no question that the pandemic has “augmented interest in self-contained dwellings” that require limited interaction while offering more space.

“Space needs have increased, not only because more people need home office space, but also because so many have been sheltering with family in small spaces and realize they want more space,” O’Neill said.

236 east 72nd st lenox hill townhouse outdoor patio area

Self-contained dwellings, such as this Lenox Hill townhouse on East 72nd Street, offer limited interaction among neighbors and more personal space. (Warburg Realty)

O’Neill noted that socioeconomic factors, perhaps exacerbated by the pandemic, have prompted a rise in multigenerational living arrangements.

“In several deals I’ve done in recent past, townhouses have been sought out for their ability to afford for family living within a space that affords privacy for adult offspring who have elected to remain with their parents,” she said. “In a good number of cases I’ve seen, it is the question for a more family-centric lifestyle that is driving demand.”

Author

Neal is the Chief Content Officer at Forbes Global Properties. A content strategist with more than a decade of experience in the sports, entertainment and real estate spaces he previously launched a sports real estate column and chronicled L.A.’s biggest home sales for the Los Angeles Times' award-winning “Hot Property” section.

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