Most Wanted


A revived New York City real estate market is seeing strong demand and attractive prices as buyers’ interest is rekindled. Abode2 reports

The past few months have seen a rebound in the Manhattan property market that few expected so quickly, given how deserted the city felt at the start of the pandemic. Industry figures reported 4,997 sales in the third quarter of 2021, the highest since its records started in 2010.

“The current rebound is a clear contrast from what was happening pre-pandemic,” comments property agent Rina Kliot. According to Douglas Elliman, the median property price in Manhattan in the third quarter of 2021 was $1.13m, the highest level in eight quarters, and up 5% on spring 2021. “The city’s reopening, low mortgage rates, and a greater certainty about where people will be working, has been the “perfect storm,” Kliot adds. “It has fuelled fresh demand, particularly for those who’ve been window shopping for the past year. What’s driving this momentum further too, are more realistic sellers and softer prices. We are still at near record levels of inventory. So, sellers are going down to meet buyers at their prices. Buyers at present have serious options.”

The speed off the rebound also served as an advertisement for the long-term strength of the Big Apple market, explains Bill Kowalczuk of Warburg Realty: “In their home countries, buyers might find it unrewarding to park money in available instruments such as stocks, which might be too volatile at this juncture of the global economy. The US housing market is among the brightest in the global economy during tough pandemic times. This has made the landscape attractive for foreigners.”

While Russian, Chinese and Canadian buyers have long been major players in New York, the foreign buyer market has changed of late with more investors from Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan.

Cat Liu, director of sales at Extell’s new waterfront condo One Manhattan Square on the Lower East Side, confirmed that the building recently sold to residents from the Netherlands, France, Canada, China, South Korea and Japan. “Investors are still eager to capture COVID-19 discounts,” she explains. So where are buyers looking?

Soho, Tribeca & West Village

When the market is weakened, go for blue chip properties, advises Seth Levin at Keller Williams. Investors in luxury real estate from around the world are now looking to buy in prime Downtown neighbourhoods, given that even before the onset of the coronavirus crisis, these areas were hurting from oversupply of new development inventory.

High-priced condos could see the sharpest price decreases. Between potential discounts and historically low mortgage rates, investors may start swooping into these high-end neighbourhoods.

“Where we were seeing 7% to 8% discounts pre-Covid, investors now have expectations that they will see discounts twice that now,” Levin adds. “Each development is different, but we believe this range of discount will be achievable. New York City is still New York City. As always, take advantage when it’s on sale. The West Village is hotter than ever. This already coveted neighbourhood has seen a 35% spike in the average price per square foot, and a 42% jump in median sales prices.”

Fort Greene, Clinton Hill and Brooklyn Heights

The iconic brownstone neighbourhoods of Brooklyn continue to sport excellent investment opportunities, especially now. “Townhouses have become more appealing to buyers since the coronavirus outbreak, for their ability to offer greater control over one’s own home and the fact that they often come with outdoor space - an amenity more appealing than ever since shelter-in-place orders,” says Nadine Adamson of Brown Harris Stevens.

“In an apartment building you can’t necessarily have people just come and visit now because of building restrictions. At a certain price point people, want to be in charge of when they open the front door. Plus, if it has a little outdoor space that will be a draw.”

One district drawing buyers’ attention is Clinton Hill, particularly in houses that can be rented out immediately but improved over time. “A solid multi-unit brownstone in a chic neighbourhood that’s close to the subway with low annual taxes will always be a prime investment,” she says.

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