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Condo Sales Drop Everywhere in New York City, But Least of All Outside of Manhattan

A clearer picture of the economic downturn's effects on New York City real estate is emerging. So far, new buyers are betting on boroughs not named Manhattan.
September 16, 2020, 5am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Stefanos Chen finds evidence of resilience in the New York City for-sale real estate market. 

"Five months after Covid-19 crippled the city’s real estate market, sales across the city are down, but the boroughs beyond Manhattan are faring better, in some rare cases even exceeding pre-pandemic expectations."

Chen describes the state of the for-sale market in New York City by first setting aside the "overstated" narrative about an exodus from the city, and blaming many of the high prices on wealthy owners of second homes in the city—many of whom have left the city since the outset of the pandemic, leaving new space for first-time and move-up buyers. With condo supply building before 2020, the effects of the pandemic now mean that 60 percent of the condos on the market in New York City are unsold. 

But those who have stayed, lured by near-record-low mortgage rates and an abundance of choices, are betting on the city’s long-term revival while they still have some leverage. Discounts remain modest at the lower end of the market, but buyers are getting back-end concessions and first crack at units with better views and layouts that were often the first to sell.

The reshuffling of the market could influence the direction of new development for years to come in the city, according to Chen: "more outdoor space, fewer bells and whistles, and above all, smaller price tags. The shift could also be a blow to the ultraluxury skyscraper, as more buyers show a preference for smaller “boutique” buildings and less reliance on cramped elevators."

As for the data to back up Chen's narrative about the strength of the home-buying market in parts of the city not named Manhattan, Chen lists condo sale data from every borough, noting that the decline in sales has been far less severe outside of Manhattan.

A lot more analysis about the trends in the New York City for-sale market are included in the article.

Full Story:
Published on Friday, September 11, 2020 in The New York Times
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