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New condo contracts in Manhattan are still 70% above pre-pandemic levels

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  • Contract volume across NYC remains stronger than in 2019, with Manhattan recently hitting its post-covid recovery stride.

  • Activity in the rate-sensitive zone below $2M was stronger than expected.

  • In the boroughs, Brooklyn’s Olympia Dumbo and Long Island City’s Skyline Tower continue to lead their markets.

Between April and May, New York City’s new developments reported 360 sponsor contracts, reflecting a 13% decrease from the same period last year at the height of the post-covid frenzy, but a 46% increase from 2019 (pre-pandemic). Agents also reported 588 condo resale deals in May, a 5% increase from the prior month.

Even with mortgage rates and other factors creating challenges for buyers this spring, NYC new developments are performing better than they did before the pandemic. This is true across most pricing metrics, with the aggregate dollar volume 25% higher than 2019 and median price per square foot 19% higher, while median unit price is slightly lower at 5%.

The May contract activity highlights two important trends that could define the next market cycle in New York City as we head into Q3:

  1. The emphasis is clearly shifting away from Brooklyn back to Manhattan after nearly two years of activity in Kings County driving the recovery narrative. Manhattan developments reported 201 sponsor deals in May compared to 112 in Brooklyn. While these figures still reflect a monthly decrease in contract levels at 11.06% and 22.22% respectively, the disproportionate drop shows buyers now favoring the borough that was slower to recover post-pandemic, and it’s happening at a time when other key economic indicators are showing positive gains like hotel bookings and subway ridership, even though office trends still remain murky.
  2. Activity in the price tier below $2M – what many experts would consider the rate-sensitive zone – was stronger than expected. During the month of April, contracts dipped across all price ranges, which was no surprise following the recent mortgage rate increase. But then in May, the activity under $2M rebounded 4.4% in new developments and 11.1% in resales, while contract volume for listings above $2M dipped.

“With mortgage rates affecting buyer behavior at every price tier and across resales and new development, it’s clear the pandemic buying frenzy is tapering off. But I wouldn’t call this a cool-down just yet because contract volume is still above 2019 levels. All things considered, New York City’s condo market continued to perform very well in May, particularly at the more entry-level price points”


MANHATTAN

New developments in Manhattan reported 201 sponsor deals totaling $639,916,828. While this does mark a decrease from April 2022, the activity in May is still elevated compared to the same period in 2019, with 70% more contracts and 25% higher aggregate dollar volume. The median price per square foot was $2,036, essentially unchanged from April, while median unit price dropped 14.01% to $1,995,000. This is in line with the city-wide trend of more deals below $2M and fewer above $4M.

May’s most expensive contract was a $33,095,000 penthouse at 53W53 in the Billionaire’s Row corridor. The Jean Nouvel-designed tower with interiors by Thierry Despont launched sales in 2016 and has recently shown an uptick in sales velocity, with four contracts reported so far in 2022 representing an aggregate asking price of $72,515,000.

The Bellemont, Naftali Group’s latest success story at 1165 Madison Avenue, reported the four subsequent priciest deals. This developer is known for controlling their contract reporting, so it is unclear if all four were actually signed in May, but the deal volume still shows strength on the Upper East Side and a continued preference for pre-war-inspired new construction – particularly anything by architect Robert A.M. Stern. In addition to the new contracts signed at The Bellemont, May also brought two high-priced closings at 520 Park Avenue, another prestige project designed by his firm, this one developed by Zeckendorf Development and Global Holdings.

MANHATTAN TOP 3S

Top Contracts

Top Closings


BROOKLYN

Of all three boroughs, Brooklyn had the biggest drop in monthly activity, with 22.22% fewer contracts signed from the previous month totaling $155,490,797, a 31.56% decrease in aggregate price. However, these figures are still above the same period in 2019, with 9% more deals reported and 30% higher dollar volume.

The median price per square foot in May was $1,328 (3.16% higher than in April) but the median unit price was 4.23% lower at $1,075,000.

Once again, Olympia Dumbo led the borough’s luxury sector, reporting the most expensive contract. Since launching sales in October 2021, Fortis Property Group’s sail-shaped condo designed by Hill West Architects and Workstead is now 26% sold.

However, May also marked the sales launch at The Brooklyn Tower, NYC’s first supertall outside Manhattan, which is expected to be the borough’s next market maker – although JDS Development hasn’t reported any contracts yet. Rising 93 stories and 1,066 feet high at 9 Dekalb Avenue, the development is asking an average of $2,297 per square foot for its 146 units, excluding penthouses, and Marketproof’s analysis predicts a total sellout of approximately $380,000,000.

BROOKLYN TOP 3S

Top Contracts

Top Closings

  • One Prospect Park West unit 9A sold for $5,986,472 (representing a 1% increase), developed by Sugar Hill Capital Partners, designed by WORKSTEAD
  • Oosten (429 Kent Avenue) PH2 sold for $4,990,876 (representing a 9.17% discount), developed by Xin Development Group International with architecture by Studio Piet Boon and Think Architecture and Design
  • 58 Saint Marks Place PH1203 sold for $4,593,375 (representing a 2.1% increase), deal was signed and closed in May and also represents the third most expensive contract for May

QUEENS

As a new development condo market, Queens continues to beat to the tune of its own drum. While Manhattan and Brooklyn saw fewer sponsor contracts in May, the borough saw an 80.77% jump with 47 reported deals against April’s 26. Aggregate dollar volume followed suit at $43,307,763, a 52.82% spike. The May figures reflect a 21% increase in activity compared to the same period last year and 81% compared to 2019, showing that Queens is continuing to fulfill its promise as an emerging market for new development.

Month over month, median price per square foot increased 6.64% while median unit price decreased 17.06% with more lower-priced deals reported. This is in line with the city-wide narrative.

Skyline Tower at 3 Court Square in Long Island City continues to set the luxury condo market for Queens, accounting for the five most expensive contracts reported in May. The 801-unit tower, developed by Risland U.S. Holdings, United Construction & Development and FSA Capital, is currently the top selling new development in New York City based on activity from the past three months and is selling at an average rate of 11 contracts per month.

The Rowan and Galerie are also market-makers for Queens. Both projects reported another round of high-priced closings and are represented by Brown Harris Stevens Development Marketing. A rare new development condominium in Astoria’s Ditmars neighborhood, The Rowan, located at 21-21 31st Street, launched sales two years ago and is now 93% sold. The RockFarmer Properties development was designed by DXA Studio and is achieving $1,290 per square foot on average compared to its average asking price of $1,257.

Galerie at 22-18 Jackson Avenue in Long Island City is also approaching sell out, with 96% of units sold since launching sales in 2018. The project is developed by Adam America Real Estate and Vanke. ODA designed the architecture and Paris Forino envisioned the interiors.

QUEENS TOP 3S

Top Contracts

Top Closings


Report Methodology

  • Report is based on reported contracts and may not represent all contracts signed
  • Prices are based on the last asking price before a unit was put into contract
  • New development contracts are sponsor stage (sponsor controlled) projects that are eligible to sell units
  • Data as of 6/1/2022

Lead photo by Michel Engels on Unsplash

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