In July, signed contracts for condos in Manhattan were down 56% from last year and co-op apartments were down 57%, according to a new report from brokerage firm Douglas Elliman and appraiser Miller Samuel.
Meanwhile, deals for homes in the suburban areas surrounding New York City surged. Pending sales for single-family homes on Long Island were up 41%; in Fairfield County, Connecticut, they were up 73%; in Westchester County, New York, they climbed 112% and in the Hamptons they were 121% higher.
“They all tell the same story,” said Jonathan Miller, president of Miller Samuel and author of the report. “You’re seeing this tremendous uptick in new signed contracts in the suburbs.”
Brooklyn, which had been down in recent months, showed stronger demand than Manhattan in July.
Pending sales of condos in Brooklyn were up 21% from last year and single-family homes were up 130%.
“This is less ‘the city versus the suburbs’ and more ‘Manhattan versus the suburbs,'” said Miller. “The outlying areas around the city are benefiting from outbound migration of Manhattan specifically.”
Manhattan sales slowly return
Despite the bad report for July, pending sales in Manhattan are rising steadily from their low in April, when condo and co-op deals were off a mind-blowing 95%. By May they had improved slightly, but pending sales were still down by more than 80% from the year before.
“The number is rising, but it is not on par with a year ago,” said Miller.
There are several reasons why Manhattan, where real estate showings were only allowed to resume in June, is late to the recovery party, Miller said.
One reason is that a huge number of Manhattanites moved out during the pandemic, said Miller.
“That is a function of wealth and mobility as opposed to density,” he said. “Many people who could leave did, and have not yet returned.”
This puts the Manhattan market on hold while many who would have bought in the borough are still living, renting and even buying in other areas outside of the city.
“The region is booming,” said Miller. “But part of that is at the expense of the city.”
Single-family homes in the suburbs of New York City that were tracked in the report showed strong pending sales numbers, particularly at higher prices.
In Westchester, for example, pending sales of homes between $500,000 and $600,000 increased by 44%, while those between $600,000 and $800,000 grew by 106%. Even pricier homes from $800,000 to $1 million jumped by 164%, and those from $1 million to $1.99 million rose by 252%. Pending sales of homes over $2 million climbed by 413% from last year.
“The numbers show mobility and mobility is about wealth,” said Miller.