As was first reported by the Wall Street Journal, an anonymous buyer shelled out $157,500,000 for two units at 220 Central Park South. The Billionaires’ Row tower is already home to the most expensive sale ever in the U.S. after billionaire Ken Griffith’s $238 million purchase in early 2019. And even amidst the pandemic, it was the best-selling condo in NYC by a long shot. The Journal first spotted property records that show the $82.5 million purchase of a 60th-floor unit and the $75 million purchase of a 61st-floor unit, both made using an LLC.
real estate trends
New atrium proposed for 60 Wall Street; Conceptual renderings courtesy of Paramount Group
The eccentric 1980s atrium at the Financial District office tower 60 Wall Street is getting a 21st-century makeover. As part of a major renovation, owner Paramount Group is ditching the indoor palm trees and man-made rock displays and creating a public space they feel is more attractive in a post-pandemic era. With designs from Kohn Pedersen Fox, the updated atrium of the 47-story tower will boast a new skylight and a 100-foot-tall, block-long interior green wall.
In November 2020, Heather White decided it was time to move to Brooklyn and open her gym’s second location there. She founded Trillfit, a runaway fitness sensation, in Boston and was ready to expand. People in her life told her New York is not the place to be right now. Her response: New York is always the place. “When everybody goes left, we go right.”
It’s the best-kept secret among New Yorkers—now is the time to move to New York City.
A year ago, there was so much uncertainty surrounding the pandemic and politics, which made real estate somewhat of a gamble, at least in hard-hit New York City. When it came to the headlines, it seemed all anyone could talk about was the mass exodus from the city. Home prices were soaring in the surrounding suburbs, with stories of lines around the block for open houses and bidding wars. But in the city, vacancies were at an unprecedented high.
A year later, though, and a quarter of New Yorkers are vaccinated, and we’re starting to see “normal” life resurface. To understand how the residential real estate market is rebounding, we spoke to experts in the field, including brokers, developers, and data gurus, to get their thoughts on timing, prices, the luxury market, surrounding suburbs, and more.
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.
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.