Manhattan Apartment Purchases Hit Three Decade High Amid 'Buying Frenzy'

Tyler Durden's Photo
by Tyler Durden
Friday, Oct 08, 2021 - 10:40 PM

The latest housing data from appraiser Miller Samuel Inc. and brokerage Douglas Elliman Real Estate signals "confidence" has returned to the Manhattan housing market, according to Bloomberg.

Third-quarter data shows apartment sales in the borough totaled 4,523, the most in any quarter, dating back to 1989. The median price for homes that sold rose 1.4% from a year earlier to $1.12 million.

"There's more optimism and a sense of safety in the market," said Jonathan Miller, president of Miller Samuel. "And there's a sense that Covid discounts are evaporating quickly. They're not going to have a lot of life left in them."

Buyers quickly moved in to buy the dip as bidding wars broke out, and the share of deals above the listing prices was 8.3%, the highest in three years. Also, the average time an apartment spent on the market was 152 days, 10% less than the prior quarter. 

"People learned a decade ago that when you get a buying opportunity like this, you want to take advantage of it," said Greg Heym, chief economist at brokerage Brown Harris Stevens, which released a separate report on the state of the Manhattan real estate market. 

The buying frenzy helped diminish Manhattan's massive pile of apartment inventories. Real estate firm the Corcoran Group noted there were 6,850 apartments for sale as of mid-September, 28% fewer than a year ago. However, inventories remain stubbornly high. "Buyers still have a significant amount of control over the transactions," Miller said.

Employers have been slow to bring back workers to the office this fall, but a separate report by Cushman & Wakefield predicts the return-to-office trend may accelerate in the first quarter of 2022.

Kastle Systems, which aggregates data from its swipe-card access systems, shows only 29% of office workers in the city are back at their desks. That number is expected to pick up early next year. 

However, commercial real estate remains in a terrible glut that may not be resolved until 2025.