Spring Awakening

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Dear Friends,

Happy (almost) spring!

As the busy seasons approach for both the sale and rental markets, we have already noticed an uptick in activity for our sellers and landlords. Buyers appear to be coming out of winter hibernation to catch a low mortgage interest rate before they climb any higher, while renters are trying to grab onto a final winter rental concession

Some factors to consider:

AN AFFORDABLE NEW YORK? According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are indications that New Yorkers are spending less of their income on housing costs. Over the past three years, rents rose by 8.2% while household income has risen 11%. This, coupled with a strong economy, job growth, and the third highest vacancy rate since 1965 (3.63% citywide and 4.73% in Manhattan), has given city residents a slight reprieve.

RENTAL MARKET BECOMING MORE ACTIVE Rental prices in Manhattan remained relatively flat in February, increasing by just 0.24 percent year-on-year to $3,903 per month. The segment that saw the biggest price drop were non-doorman Tribeca one-beds (down 12.8% at $4,428) and non-doorman one-beds in Gramercy (down 12.5% to $3,097). Having said that, we have noticed exponentially more activity on our listings as we approach the busy rental season. Most renters are making offers below the asking rental price, which many landlords are entertaining.

CONTRACT ACTIVITY There were 805 contracts signed in Manhattan from February 5th to March 4th. Out of those, 407 deals were for co-ops, followed by 361 for condos, 22 for condops and 15 for townhouses. The most active price segment was the $1 million – $2 million range, which accounted for 223 transactions. The Upper West Side was the busiest neighborhood during this period, where there were 92 signed contracts.

LUXURY MARKET IGNITES Manhattan’s luxury market, which was relatively stagnant to end 2017, saw 21 contracts signed last week. This was the sixth week in a row activity at $4 million and above topped the 20-deal mark. The threat of higher interest rates has perhaps created urgency with buyers. We have seen an uptick in activity on all of our listings priced $3M+ and have witnessed buyers in the 4M+ range get outbid to higher offers.

As always, should you have any questions about the Manhattan real estate market, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

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On March 16, 2018