Real Estate Collapse: In Q2, A Record 44 NYC Neighborhoods Closed Fewer Than Five Deals

By Eliza Theiss of Property Shark

Marked by strict lockdowns, the halt of economic activity and the loss and suffering brought on by COVID-19, New York City’s real estate market was bound to present a decidedly different picture in the second quarter both year-over-year (Y-o-Y) and quarter-over-quarter (Q-o-Q).

First, it’s important to note that, during the last quarter, a record 44 NYC neighborhoods closed fewer than five deals — a metric we consider to be the lowest minimum threshold for calculating a neighborhood’s median sale price. As a result, these neighborhoods are not represented in our findings. In total, we analyzed the second quarter’s median sale price and sales activity changes in 157 NYC neighborhoods.

Next, the most notable change was brought on by Brooklyn, which — for the first time ever — had more neighborhoods among the city’s most expensive than Manhattan. Specifically, of the 52 neighborhoods that were ranked as the city’s 50 most expensive (due to two ties), Brooklyn claimed 23 entries versus Manhattan’s 21 neighborhoods, while Queens was represented by eight areas.

Pandemic-Depressed Market Slashes Manhattan Sales in Half, Brooklyn Sales Only by a Third

Overall, the median sale price for the four boroughs contracted 2% Y-o-Y in Q2 and gained 4% Q-o-Q, stabilizing at $675,178. But, while the overall median of the four boroughs remained largely unchanged, sales activity plummeted — down 36% Q-o-Q and down 43% Y-o-Y. In particular, Manhattan was hit the hardest of the four boroughs. Its sales activity was halved, and the median sale price dropped 22% Y-o-Y from $1.27 million to $990,000.

That significant drop was brought on by two major factors: a change in the ratio of property types sold and sale prices sliding under the influence of the new economic and public health crisis. And, while condo units represented half of all sales in Q2 2019, that share dropped to 44% in Q2 2020. Moreover, the median sale price of condo units traded in Q2 contracted 7% Y-o-Y from $1.745 million in 2019 to $1.625 million in 2020.

At the same time, the number of co-ops traded dropped at a less dramatic rate and, as a result, co-ops made up a larger share of Manhattan residential sales: 55% this year compared to 49% last year. However, the median sale price of co-ops contracted at a sharper rate than condos, dropping 10% Y-o-Y — from $830,000 in Q2 2019 to $750,000 in Q2 2020.

Brooklyn led in terms of sales activity, with the number of transactions recorded here in Q2 dropping only 32%, while its median sale price slid 2% to $702,000. Although sales activity decreased across all asset types — down 29% Y-o-Y for co-ops, 30% for condos and 41% for single-family homes — the median sale price presented conflicting trends across different property types. As a result, Brooklyn’s Q2 2020 residential market presented a fractured image.

Condo and co-op sales took up a larger share of Brooklyn’s residential sales in Q2 2020 compared to Q2 2019 — to the detriment of single-family home sales. In particular, houses represented 22% of all second-quarter sales in 2020, as opposed to 25% in 2019. Meanwhile, co-op units represented 28% compared to 27% a year ago, and condo unit sales increased from 48% to 50% of all sales.

Notably, the median sale price of single-family homes increased 7% Y-o-Y to $773,000 and the co-op median gained 9% Y-o-Y to reach $462,000. However, the drop in the median sale price of Brooklyn condos paired with their increased share of total sales deflated the entire borough’s Q2 median this year. Specifically, Brooklyn condos registered a 4% Y-o-Y drop, going from last year’s $863,000 to $825,000 in Q2 2020.

Bronx Single-Family Sales Surge, While Queens Condos Heat Up Borough Pricing

The Bronx and Queens showed similar trends, both in terms of pricing and sales activity evolution across all residential property types. Queens fared well in terms of price growth, with its median rising 12.3% Y-o-Y from $463,000 to $520,000, although transactional activity shrank 42% Y-o-Y. Meanwhile, Bronx prices actually rose at a slightly sharper rate of 12.5% Y-o-Y, but sales activity plunged 46% here.

In particular, price growth in the Bronx was fueled by the significant increase in the share of sales of single-family homes. While condos made up 23% of all second-quarter sales in 2019 and single-family homes 34%, in 2020, the share of condo sales dropped to 18% of the borough’s total residential sales, while single-family homes made up 40%.

And, because the median sale price of single-family homes ($525,000 in Q2 2020) is significantly higher than that of condos ($225,000 in Q2 2020), the Bronx’s overall median sale price grew, as well, going from $289,000 a year ago to $325,000 in Q2 of this year.

Queens, a borough dominated by single-family homes, saw its sales activity drop at the sharpest rate for this property type. At the same time, condos outperformed every other residential property type, both in terms of pricing and number of sales.

More precisely, Queens condo sales declined a mere 4% Y-o-Y, while their median sale price rose 13% Y-o-Y to reach $644,000 in Q2 2020. Likewise, condos also constituted a larger share of all sales in 2020, representing 22% of all Q2 transactions this year, as opposed to 13% in 2019.

However, as condos still madk up a relatively small percentage of all Queens sales, the borough’s second-quarter sales activity dropped 42% Y-o-Y, fueled by the 47% decline in co-op sales and 48% decrease in single-family home sales. As a result, co-ops represented 37% of all Q2 sales in Queens and single-family homes made up 41%, down from last year’s 40% and 47%, respectively.

Although sales activity decreased across the board, the borough’s 13% price increase was sustained by a 7% Y-o-Y increase in the median sale price of both co-ops ($320,000 in Q2 2020) and single-family homes ($644,000), and boosted by the 13% Y-o-Y hike for condos.

Kingsbridge Median Surges 147% Y-o-Y, Gowanus Sales Activity Heats Up 230%

At the neighborhood level, the Bronx’s Kingsbridge led in terms of pricing gains with its 147% Y-o-Y surge. Specifically, it went from $230,000 in Q2 2019 to $568,000 in Q2 2020 due to the change in types of properties sold. For instance, while the seven sales recorded in Q2 2019 were all co-ops, Q2 2020 saw six sales — three of which were single-family homes.

Kingsbridge’s pricing surge was followed by Williamsbridge’s 100% Y-o-Y boom, which brought the Bronx neighborhood’s median sale price up to $478,000. That jump was also the result of an increase in the number of single-family homes sold. While single-family homes made up half of Williamsbridge sales in Q2 2019 and had a median sale price of $462,000, in Q2 2020, single-family homes represented 67% of the neighborhood’s sales at a noticeably higher median sale price of $512,000.

At the other end of the spectrum stood Prospect Park South, which experienced the sharpest decline — down 54% Y-o-Y. It went from a median sale price of $1.23 million a year ago to $568,000 in Q2 2020. Once again, that change was brought on by a change in the mix of property types sold and their lower price points.

Specifically, in Q2 2019, Prospect Park South’s residential sales were comprised of 57% co-op units and 43% single-family homes. However, this year, single-family homes represented just 17% of sales, while co-ops took 33% and condos made up 50%. That was a significant change, as Q2’s condo sales had a median sale price of $560,000.

Nearby, the median sale price of Hunter’s Point co-ops decreased 23% Y-o-Y from $778,000 to $592,000. Additionally, while the three single-family homes sold in Q2 2019 had a median of $2.215 million, only two homes were sold in Q2 2020, and those averaged $959,000.

In terms of sales activity, Brooklyn’s Gowanus witnessed the sharpest growth rate at a whopping 230% Y-o-Y. However, it must be noted that, in terms of actual transactions, that figure represents an increase from 10 deals registered in Q2 2019 to 33 transactions registered in Q2 2020. That surge was fueled by sales in new developments in the neighborhood, such as Luna at 229 9th Street., which originated 12 condo sales in Q2 2020 and none in Q2 2019.

Meanwhile, Brooklyn neighborhood Greenwood Heights and Queens’ Hunters Point experienced the next-sharpest gains in transactional activity, both recording 123% more sales than in Q2 2019. All in all, only 15 of the 157 NYC neighborhoods included in this report registered year-over-year increases in transactional activity.

On the opposite end of the spectrum was Brooklyn’s Greenpoint. Its 83% Y-o-Y drop was the sharpest rate of decrease in sales activity among all neighborhoods that had at least five sales. In particular, only 14 deals closed in Greenpoint in Q2 2020, as opposed to the 80 that were registered here in the same timeframe last year, fueled by the sale of 48 luxury condos at the then-new mixed-use development The Greenpoint. As a result, the neighborhood’s median sale price also contracted, dropping 22% Y-o-Y from $1.36 million in Q2 2019 to $1.06 million in Q2 2020.

Brooklyn Overtakes Manhattan for First Time, Lands More Neighborhoods in Top 50 Priciest

Among the neighborhoods omitted from our analysis due to insufficient sales activity were high-profile names like Hudson Yards, Malba and the Columbia Street Waterfront District, which ranked as the #1, #7 and #9 most expensive NYC neighborhoods in Q1 2020. Consequently, TriBeCa reclaimed the title of #1 most expensive neighborhood in NYC, despite a 14% Y-o-Y price drop that brought its median sale price down to $3.73 million. At the same time, sales activity plummeted 52% Y-o-Y.

The city’s #2 most expensive neighborhood was Little Italy at $2.75 million. Its median sale price registered a mild 3% Y-o-Y uptick, paired with a 4% gain Q-o-Q. But, its sales activity dropped 22% Y-o-Y, closing only seven deals in Q2 2020.

Similarly, SoHo’s $2.425 million median sale price earned it the title of NYC’s #3 most expensive neighborhood, despite its 8% median sale price contraction. However, its drop in transactional activity was more dramatic — down 67% — closing only 15 sales compared to 46 registered in Q2 2019.

Overall, Manhattan supplied six of the city’s 10 most expensive neighborhoods and Brooklyn four. However, when looking at the 50 most expensive neighborhoods, Brooklyn had a heavier presence than Manhattan — a historic first. Specifically, of the 52 neighborhoods that had the 50 highest median sale prices of Q2, 23 were in Brooklyn versus Manhattan’s 21 neighborhoods. Queens was represented by eight.

Manhattan Snapshot: TriBeCa Retakes Top Spot, Inwood Has Lowest Median at $405K

As is most often the case, Manhattan’s three most expensive neighborhoods were also NYC’s three priciest: TriBeCa, Little Italy and SoHo. But, its competitively priced neighborhoods are often what incite the most interest here in what is, historically, the city’s priciest borough.

With a median sale price of $405,000, Inwood was Manhattan’s #1 most affordable neighborhood, following a 5% Y-o-Y drop. However, Inwood’s sales activity was halved, as was Tudor City’s, Manhattan’s #2 most affordable area. The latter posted a median sale price of $455,000 following a 10% Y-o-Y hike, which was the only year-over-year pricing gain among Manhattan’s five lowest-priced neighborhoods.

At the same time, Washington Heights underwent an 18% Y-o-Y price crunch that cemented its $468,000 median as the borough’s #3 lowest.

Brooklyn Snapshot: Sales Activity Drops Only 32% Y-o-Y, DUMBO Becomes #4 Priciest NYC Neighborhood

Three of Brooklyn’s priciest neighborhoods were among the city’s top 10 most expensive. Brooklyn’s median sale price leader, DUMBO, landed at #4 with a $2.075 million median. That came as a result of a noticeable 38% Y-o-Y increase spurred by the sale of three units at 100 Jay Street with a median of $2.45 million. At the same time, DUMBO’s sales activity was halved.

Carroll Gardens was right on DUMBO’s heels as Brooklyn’s #2 most expensive neighborhood and the city’s #5 priciest. Its median was on the rise, as well, gaining 42% Y-o-Y. However, sales activity in Carroll Gardens dropped at an even sharper rate than in DUMBO, coming in at 65% below Q2 2019.

Hitting a median sale price of $1.46 million following a 38% Y-o-Y drop, Cobble Hill was Brooklyn’s #3 priciest neighborhood in Q2 20201 and #8 city-wide. This was after a somewhat artificially inflated median in Q2 2019, elevated by the 17 sales registered at The Cobble Hill House, where the median sale price was $2.32 million.

On the other end of the borough’s pricing spectrum stood Gerritsen Beach, Coney Island and Midwood, which logged the lowest median sale prices. In particular, Gerritsen Beach was Brooklyn’s #1 most affordable neighborhood at $402,000, following a 7% Y-o-Y slide. Sales activity here dropped a mere 5% Y-o-Y, while Coney Island dropped 39% Y-o-Y.

However, Coney Island’s median gained 6% to become Brooklyn’s #2 lowest median. Meanwhile, Midwood’s 32% Y-o-Y drop pulled its median sale price down from last year’s $650,000 to $441,000 in Q2 2020, and transactional activity was slashed by 43% Y-o-Y.

All in all, the borough’s median sale price dipped 2% Y-o-Y, closing Q2 at $702,000. Notably, Brooklyn’s sales activity dropped only 32%, representing the lowest decline in transactional activity among the four boroughs.

Queens Snapshot: 34% Y-o-Y Drop Makes Briarwood Borough’s Lowest-Priced Neighborhood

In Queens, eight neighborhoods were among the city’s 50 most expensive. Nonetheless, the borough navigated a tumultuous second quarter with sales activity dropping 42% Y-o-Y. It registered only 1,365 sales, as opposed to 2,340 in Q2 2019. Queens’ median sale price, however, rose 12.3% Y-o-Y, reaching $520,000 in Q2 2020.

Fresh Meadows was its #1 most expensive neighborhood at a median sale price of $930,000, following a 9% Y-o-Y uptick. While that growth rate was lower than the borough’s 12.3% Y-o-Y gain, Fresh Meadows’s median was upheld by the type of properties that changed hands. In fact, in Q2 2020, only single-family homes were sold here, all of which sold for more than $800,000. As a result, Fresh Meadows’ $930,000 median also made it the #27 most expensive neighborhood in NYC.

Queensboro Hill was Queens’ #2 priciest neighborhood with an $893,000 median sale price. That number tied it with Manhattan’s Gramercy Park to secure the city’s #32 priciest neighborhood. While Queensboro Hill’s sales activity plummeted 60% Y-o-Y, Hunters Point saw sales surge 123%. The borough’s #3 priciest neighborhood at $890,000, Hunters Point tied Brooklyn’s Greenwood Heights for the NYC neighborhood with the second-highest gain in transactional activity.  

Queens’ #1 lowest-priced neighborhood was Briarwood at $213,000, following a 34% Y-o-Y reduction in its median sale price. Both here and in the borough’s #2 most affordable neighborhood of Corona, sales activity was halved.

Likewise, Corona’s median was also on the downswing, dropping 32% Y-o-Y to $260,000. In the meantime, Lindenwood — Queens’ #3 best-priced neighborhood — bucked the trend with a 7% Y-o-Y increase to reach $270,000 in Q2.

Bronx Snapshot: Up 13% Y-o-Y, Spencer Estates Becomes Most Expensive Neighborhood in the Bronx

As usual, the Bronx didn’t manage to make its way among the city’s 50 priciest neighborhoods.  However, it did register the sharpest pricing gain among the four boroughs, climbing 12.5% to a median sale price of $325,000, although sales activity fell 46% Y-o-Y. Its #1 most expensive neighborhood was Spencer Estates, which logged a $619,000 median after a 26% Y-o-Y price expansion. As such, it ranked as the #67 priciest NYC neighborhood.

NYC’s #74 priciest neighborhood and the Bronx’s #2 highest, Morris Park just made the cut with five sales at a $585,000 median sale price. And, with an 8% Y-o-Y pricing gain, Pelham Gardens was the #3 priciest Bronx neighborhood at $572,500, while its sales activity dipped 8%.

Tied at a median sale price of $162,500, High Bridge and Fordham became the lowest-priced neighborhoods in the Bronx. Specifically, High Bridge’s median ticked up 3% Y-o-Y with transactional activity unchanged, while Fordham’s sales were halved, and its median dropped 34% Y-o-Y.

Meanwhile, following a 16% Y-o-Y appreciation, Kingsbridge Heights became the #2 most affordable Bronx neighborhood at $185,000, while Parkchester’s 8% Y-o-Y bump gave it the #3 lowest median sale price in the Bronx at $188,750.