Manhattan apartment sales fall by 50%: Report

Big-city units moved at half their usual pace last month.

According to new Douglas Elliman and Miller Samuel data, the Manhattan condo and co-op markets were sluggish in January, both down by roughly half from what they were that same month a year prior. Specifically, the report notes that 186 condo contracts were signed in January 2023, a 51.2% decrease from the 381 tallied in January 2022. Meanwhile, buyers inked contracts for 252 co-op units last month, down nearly 49% year-over-year from 492 the previous January.

Why the sudden slowdown? The report’s author, appraiser Jonathan Miller, points to a supply shortage and the bummer economic climate surrounding increased interest rates to combat lingering inflation. Unfortunately for buyers, the numbers do not point to more bargains in the near future. 

“Typically when a market pivots and sales drop, listing inventory surges. But that isn’t happening, and that’s why this time is a bit different,” Miller explained to Crain’s. “We don’t expect prices to adjust sharply.”

The situation is similar across the river, in Brooklyn, where co-op contracts were found to be down 55.8% last month compared to January 2022. Those numbers show 46 co-ops saw signed contracts this January compared to 104 last January. Condo contracts were down a higher 63.6%, with 86 this January compared to 236 in January 2022. 

Although the contract report points to a softening market, another new Douglas Elliman report charting the last decade of Manhattan sales puts today’s seemingly significant percent changes into perspective — by showing how much prices have increased over the past 10 years. 

Indeed, the fact that apartments are currently half as hot as they were last year pales when considering the median sales price of a Manhattan flat has gone up by $340,000 since 2013. And units may not have sold as quickly this January, but in 2013 the average Manhattan apartment lingered on the market for 121 days — a number which has gone down by over a month, to 76 in 2022, according to Elliman’s Manhattan Decade Sales report.

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