After three consecutive quarters of decline, the total residential sales volume and residential transactions in New York City during the final quarter of last year increased considerably. According to a new report released this week by the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY), total sales increased to $9 billion in Q4 2020 from $6.5 billion in Q3, a roughly 40 percent increase in sales volume. Notably, the outer boroughs drove the surge in sales, with a sales volume increase of 90 percent in Brooklyn and 69 percent in Queens during this period.
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When the coronavirus pandemic struck New York City last March, many New Yorkers decided to temporarily stick it out at short-term rentals in the Hamptons. As the crisis continued and it became clear COVID was not subsiding any time soon, those tentative renters became buyers, aided by low mortgage rates and the ability to work from home. According to a report from Sotheby’s International Realty, sales activity in the Hamptons in the third quarter of last year saw a significant increase year over year at all price points as many sought more space and access to the outdoors. “It took a pandemic for folks to discover that the Hamptons is so much more than a swanky summer-only home destination,” Holly Hodder, an agent managing East End listings for Sotheby’s International Realty, said. “Thousands of people who have settled here for hundred-plus years as full-time residents know that anyone can find an affordable level.”
After Joe Biden is sworn in as the 46th president of the United States on Wednesday, his immediate focus will be getting the coronavirus pandemic under control and providing direct relief to Americans. In addition to immediate actions related to COVID-19, Biden’s Day 1 housing priorities include extending the federal nationwide moratorium on residential evictions through the end of September and sending an additional $25 billion in rental assistance to states. Down the road, Biden has proposed fewer developer-friendly policies than his predecessor, including a repeal of the 1031 exchange and reform of the Opportunity Zone tax program. But overall, there is optimism among New York City real estate industry experts who see a Biden Administration as a way to restore stability and consumer confidence. With a pledge to defeat COVID-19 and send federal support to New York City, there’s hope on the horizon for the city’s recovery.
It’s not news at this point that throughout 2020 the suburbs of New York City were flooded with new home buyers, pushing up prices and leading to unbelievable bidding wars. But what is news is just how much certain upstate areas saw a rise. According to Houlihan Lawrence’s Q4 2020 Market Report, Putnam and Dutchess counties saw a 269-percent increase in home sales $1 million and over. And in Westchester county, sales $2M and higher grew by approximately 53 percent.
In a year where the number of real estate sales dropped significantly in New York City, it was a few top-tier new developments that kept things afloat. According to the CityRealty 100 report—an index comprised of the top 100 condominium buildings in Manhattan—this includes closings in 15 Hudson Yards, The Park Loggia, and Waterline Square. It also includes 220 Central Park South, which accounted for the top 22 sales during the 12 month period of this report and had a total of $1.52 billion in cumulative sales in 46 units.
More than 1,000 chain stores in New York City have closed over the past year, the largest year-over-year decline in over a decade. According to the Center for an Urban Future’s annual “State of the Chains” report, nearly one out of every seven chain retailers open at this time last year is now closed, due to the coronavirus pandemic coupled with the continued growth of e-commerce. Even Dunkin’, the city’s largest retailer, closed 18 locations in 2020, the first time the coffee chain experienced a decline since CUF began tracking chains 13 years ago.
Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in March, rental prices in Manhattan have dropped by 24 percent. While the market is slowly recovering on the island, with asking rent slightly up over the last month, new data from CityRealty shows which neighborhoods are still reeling from the state-mandated lockdown and overall financial impact of the health crisis. According to the report, the Manhattan neighborhoods that experienced the largest drop in rental prices between March and September include the Upper East Side, specifically part of the southern portion of Fifth Avenue from 59th to 79th Street, and Noho.
While some of Donald Trump’s family businesses have managed to profit from his presidency, his condo buildings in New York City continue to see significant price drops. According to a new report from CityRealty, owners of apartments at Trump-branded buildings in the city are “eager to get out,” even willing to take a significant loss on their properties. From 2016 to 2020, overall closing sales prices at nine Trump-branded condos dropped by 25 percent, according to CityRealty’s index tracking prices at Manhattan buildings owned by the Trump Organization.
Kingston, New York has been called the Hudson Valley’s “creative capital.” As Brooklyn Based explained, from the 1950s to the ’90s, it was home to a massive IBM campus, but the Catskills town grew increasingly vacant afterward. In recent years, however, it’s seen a resurgence of newcomers thanks to its historic housing stock, relatively low prices, foodie scene, proximity to outdoor activities, and zoning deliberately meant to attract artists. And in the face of the pandemic, these factors have made Kingston a go-to spot for those fleeing New York City. A report by the National Association of Realtors cited in Bloomberg found that Kingston has the fastest rising home prices in the U.S.
Rendering courtesy of Binyan Studios
A penthouse in Asbury Park that was listed for $5.9 million just closed, becoming the most expensive home ever sold in the Jersey Shore town. Located at the 17-story Asbury Ocean Club, the duplex penthouse contains four bedrooms, four bathrooms, and boasts roughly 2,300 square feet of outdoor space, which comes in the form of a wrap-around terrace, sunroom, and outdoor kitchen.