New York City reaching new selling highs ahead of spring homebuying season

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A new report shows that New York City is getting a head start on the spring home shopping season.

According to StreetEasy.com, the number of homes going into contract in February in New York City reached near record highs in all of the boroughs analyzed. This year, home prices fell dramatically compared to what they were in 2020 before the pandemic.

“We’re now a year into the pandemic, and for many buyers, it’s been a year of window shopping and waiting for the right time to make a move on a home,” said StreetEasy Economist Nancy Wu. “With prices coming down, an abundance of homes for sale, the vaccine rollout picking up speed, and the real chance that mortgage rates are only going to increase, buyers have declared that now is the time to make an offer.” 

In Manhattan, 1,304 homes went into contract in February 2021, the most in one month in eight years and up 70.7% since February 2020. The median asking price dropped to 1,395,000, with fewer sellers making price cuts to homes sitting on the market — the share of price cuts dropped 8.6% in total.

The number of homes for sale in Manhattan was 23.9% higher in February 2021 compared to February 2020. While total inventory peaked in October 2020, it remains significantly higher than what is typically expected in New York City during the winter months. 

In Brooklyn, the price index dropped 5.5% last month, the largest in StreetEasy’s data. Regardless, the month saw 773 pending sales, nearly matching October 2020’s high of 774 sales, with a median asking price of $900,000, the lowest since 2015. The number of contracts signed in Brooklyn was just below record highs, showing demand for the area. Williamsburg and Greenpoint had 80 homes enter contract, which is up from 44 in February 2020.

While Queens home prices were unchanged compared to last year, the number of homes going into contract increased by 31.4% year-over-year. The price index in the World’s Borough was the only one analyzed that did not have a significant price stop, though the Northwest Queens area — the most expensive area of Queens, comprised of Long Island City, Astoria, and Sunnyside — saw a 1.2% drop in price with a median asking price of $845,000. The number of homes going into contract in February 2021 in Northwest Queens doubled compared to last year with 118 sales.

StreetEasy states that the data shows that instead of cutting prices to attract buyers, the sellers are either pricing lower from the start or accepting lower offers during negotiations, therefore facing the fact that they need to remain competitive to move their home off the market.

Read the full report at streeteasy.com.

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