March is the best time to sell a Manhattan apartment, experts say

In Manhattan, words like “quiet” attract buyer attention.
In Manhattan, words like “quiet” attract buyer attention. Photo Credit: Getty/AFP/Joe Klamar

If you live in Manhattan and want to sell your apartment, March is the best month to put it on the market, according to a data study from the listings website StreetEasy.

The site posted tips on its blog yesterday to help sellers prepare for the spring and summer sales frenzy, and broke the information down by borough.

According to StreetEasy, the best time to post a listing is before the peaks in both supply and demand. This will get sellers ahead of the fiercely competitive part of the season.

March is the best month for the city as a whole, StreetEasy found, especially since markdown rates are historically low, giving sellers have a greater chance of getting close to their asking price.

The highest demand in Manhattan and Queens occurs in April and inventory in those boroughs surges in June, so the best time to post a listing is in March, StreetEasy found from its data.

February through the first weeks of March is optimal to post a property in Brooklyn, and April is prime for the Bronx.

Staten Island was excluded from the site’s report because there was too little data collected from the borough.

StreetEasy also analyzed thousands of sales listings from Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan and the Bronx to find keywords that led to the fastest transactions.

“Savvy home sellers … use listing descriptions as an opportunity to play up the unique features of their home which often leads to a shorter time on the market,” StreetEasy data scientist Alan Lightfeldt said.

For example, in the Bronx, potential buyers want family space in their homes, so putting that the apartment has a big living room can make it attractive.

In Queens, people want to be close to transportation, StreetEasy found.

Not surprisingly, in Manhattan it’s all about quiet, space and storage. However, buyers in Brooklyn seem to appreciate the borough’s historically industrial aesthetic, as they are interested in elements like exposed brick and French doors.

As far as setting the price, it’s good to investigate the competition and set a price that is slightly below market — what similar homes are asking for — to draw attention, recommended Gary Malin, president at the real estate group Citi Habitats.

“Your goal is to obtain multiple offers for the property,” he said. “This so-called ‘bidding war’ will typically boost the home’s final selling price.”

And give the apartment a good “spring cleaning” before putting it up for sale, Malin added.

“Home shoppers want to see bright, clean and fresh, so it’s worth the time, effort and money,” he said.