Manhattan is 'catching up' as new contracts increase for the third consecutive month

By Brick Underground  | March 4, 2021 - 12:30PM

New listings in Manhattan have declined year over year for five consecutive months, overpowered by rising sales levels, according to the last edition of the Elliman Report.


Three times is a trend, or so the thinking goes: For the third straight month, new signed contracts for Manhattan showed an increase over the same month a year ago.

That’s according to the latest edition of the Elliman Report, which looks at new signed contacts and new listings on a monthly basis for co-ops, condos, and one- to three-family houses and covers Manhattan, Brooklyn, Long Island, Hamptons, North Fork, Westchester County, Fairfield County, and Greenwich, CT.

Manhattan has trailed the region in contract activity since the summer, the report says, but appears to be catching up in the new year. The increase in signed contracts was strongest for co-ops—there were 601 new signed contracts last month, compared to 321 in February 2020.

New listings in Manhattan have declined year over year for five consecutive months, overpowered by rising sales levels, the report says.

In Brooklyn, new signed contracts for all three types of housing combined have risen significantly year over year for eight consecutive months, according to the report. Condos edged out co-ops—there were 263 new signed contracts for condos last month compared to 109 in February 2020. The activity is encouraging more owners to put their properties on the market. New listings were up for condos and co-ops, but down 20.8 percent for one- to three-family houses.

Is there a plateau forming on Long Island? For the first time since June, new signed contracts for condos and houses combined did not increase over the year-ago period, likely because of a drop in the number of new listings available for the second straight month.

In the Hamptons, new contracts for condos and single-family homes together has risen year over year since May (when Douglas Elliman's tracking of new contracts and listings started). New listings are down 37.7 percent for houses, the report says, finally overpowered as a result of “the sustained, year-over-year sales surge.”

New signed contracts for condos and single families on the North Fork combined ticked up slightly last month after slipping in January. New listings have fallen sharply year over year for three straight months—there were 23 new single-family houses on the market last month, compared to 76 in February 2020.

New contracts for condos and single families combined have risen significantly year over year since July in Westchester and Greenwich, two suburbs where the sales surge “overpowered new listings.” For example, there were 108 new signed contracts for single-family houses in Greenwich last month compared to 41 in February 2020. New contracts declined significantly in Fairfield, where new listings for single-family houses fell to 342 from 1,239 in the prior year.

Other market reports

Corcoran released its February 2021 snapshot, which notes that Manhattan is seeing its strongest start to the year since 2013. February continued the sales activity seen in January, thanks to increased affordability, low interest rates, high levels of negotiability, and an improving economy and pandemic response, the report says. Highlights include: Three and four-plus bedroom sales increased the most; condo sales drove February’s year-over-year increase in sales; and new development sales were up 62 percent annually

“We're also seeing that great value coupled with low interest rates brings in more first-time buyers. New Yorkers are savvy, and they know that this is their golden window to secure a home at a price that may have been unthinkable a few years ago," says Pam Liebman, president and CEO.

Another report says February breaks an even longer record.

To Garrett Derderian, director of market Intelligence for SERHANT, last month was the strongest February for new contracts since at least 2008, when he began tracking data.

"While prices are not near record levels, it does appear discounts are leveling off, and are on par with where they have been the past two years," Derderian says of his analysis of Manhattan new signed contracts.

Compass released February reports for Manhattan and Brooklyn, and found that in Manhattan, contracts signed in February increased by 24.2 percent compared to the previous month. 

"Lower inventory and acceleration of contract activity are indicative of the revival of Manhattan real estate as buyers look to secure discounts," says Devin Daly, PR manager for Compass.


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