Recent Q3 market data is supporting what working with many of our clients over the past year has shown: at nearly every price level inventory is growing, absorption is slowing, and price negotiability is trending higher. While the New York City luxury market is softer than it has been in some time, within this dynamic and ever-changing marketplace, there continue to be opportunities for buyers, sellers, and investors alike.
Within the global context, the NYC real estate market is proving more appealing to buyers, as competitive prime cities continue to be trapped in property bubbles. In fact, governments in several major cities have implemented new restrictions and taxes as part of an effort to curb housing speculation, disincentivize foreign investment, and address affordability issues. Some jurisdictions—Toronto, Hong Kong and Vancouver—have gone so far as to introduce legislation seeking to penalize affluent and foreign buyers to appease local housing concerns, while the UK government proposed a stamp duty surcharge of 1% and 3% for foreign buyers last month.
In contrast, and in light of growing inventory of existing product and new development, the NYC property market continues to transact, largely due to price adjustments particularly in the first two quarters of this year. This is encouraging many domestic buyers to jump into the market, especially in light of other larger macroeconomic conditions—unemployment hitting all-time lows, inflation at bay and equity markets at record highs. While some of our buyer clients remain on the sidelines, trying to ascertain whether we’ve yet to hit the “bottom” of the cycle, others are diving in aggressively—identifying the most opportune neighborhood submarkets that show the most likely price and price per square foot (PPSF) growth.
We’ve been advising buyers to focus on a property’s provenance, unique features and location, while being mindful of the looming new development pipeline that could stymie long-term appreciation. This philosophy led us to secure significant discounts for buyers from UES co-ops to trophy downtown new developments, from buying in established gold-standard buildings to buying directly off floorplans. If there is one thing we keep repeating this year it is this: the largest challenge facing today’s luxury market is finding the right property—among record high inventory—that provides the best opportunity and security in the future.
- Emerging markets such as Washington Heights, Harlem, and East Harlem are still trading for under $1,000 PPSF on average, yet signaling additional appreciation potential despite seeing the highest 3-year growth citywide in PPSF.
- Among more established markets, Yorkville and Midtown South are the highest performers.
- Downtown East and the Lower East Side continue to achieve strong sale numbers, while Greenwich Village and the West Village were the only submarkets in Downtown West to make it on our neighborhood leaderboard showing the highest average PPSF.
Geopolitical uncertainty, rising mortgage rates, trade renegotiations, and now the “buyer’s market” messaging are giving many potential sellers pause about bringing their properties to market at this time. We remind prospective sellers that the US GDP continues to grow, tax reform is proving effective at encouraging small business expansion, and the stock market is achieving record highs.
Indeed, even amidst today’s buyer’s market, our clients are achieving strong PPSFs once we have positioned and priced their property with a highly customized and aggressive marketing strategy. We’re proud to have consistently beaten the market’s average negotiability and secured top dollar and above-market speed for properties we’ve represented this year—ranging from a Flatiron floor-through loft and a UES high-rise condo to securing a sale in a Gramercy Park cond-op where sales had all but grinded to a halt. We also set a sales record within the townhouse-heavy Boerum Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn.
We remain hyper aware of current competition, market swings, and future pipeline activity, which can be considerable. To this point, we recommend selling once the decision has been made, and prioritizing impactful marketing initiatives and a true global reach to secure top dollar today, rather than trying to predict the next “seller’s market.”
We stay focused on features your property offers in light of the competition, particularly as buyers are becoming more neighborhood agnostic and interested in the finishes, craftsmanship, and amenities a property offers. This may likely explain yet another trend we’ve identified since the end of 2017: that many townhouse buyers are shifting to penthouse and higher floors of new development condominiums in their searches.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
We’ve taken a closer look at the condominium sales performance this past quarter, particularly since this product pipeline is ever-evolving with the new development projects coming to market. We’ve separated the market by those sales below $3,000 PPSF and above $3,000 PPSF (which we define as the luxury market for the purposes of our graphs below). Unsurprisingly, the subset below $3,000 PPSF is showing the highest absorption in the market; however, there is still plenty of product to choose from. The average discount rate for this price range reached 6.3% this quarter, where resale properties substantially dominated the market.
In contrast, the speed with which the luxury inventory is getting absorbed is nearly two times slower than the market below $3,000 PPSF. Similarly, to move the product, price discounts are averaging nearly double the citywide average. Also, the market above $3,000 PPSF has largely been overshadowed by sponsor sales (which have just now started to close) in new developments projects such as 70 Vestry Street, 160 Leroy Street, 520 Park Avenue (and, we anticipate next quarter, 220 Central Park South). From the inventory absorbed last quarter, luxury buyers favored 3-4 bedroom apartments, where concierge and premium views were the top-selling amenities.
IN TODAY’S MARKET, IF WE HAD $10M USD TO INVEST IN NYC LUXURY REAL ESTATE, WHERE WOULD WE DEPLOY IT?
West Chelsea / Hudson Yards Townhouses
Amidst a plethora of new developments, the few townhouses here are appreciating rapidly.
Upper East Side Co-Ops
After years of stagnation, this asset class, long the gold standard, is showing signs of value appreciation.
Upper West Side Townhouses
As buyers flock to new developments we anticipate this declining asset class returning to and surpassing previous record highs.
The Brooklyn Bridge Park complete, new hotels and luxury developments plus the luxury townhouse market now pushing as far out as Lefferts Garden.
Could this be the next West Chelsea? Contact us to learn about several new high-profile developments here along Brooklyn’s future Riviera or Venice Beach.
Prepared by The Erin Boisson Aries Team. The data is based on publicly recorded condo and co-op sales obtained through Perchwell and encompassing the period from July 1, 2015 to September 30, 2018. The data excludes non-market sales, commercial properties, statistical anomalies and other disqualifying outliers. The final number of sales represents the actual number of recorded sales with ACRIS and listings marked as sold in Perchwell, no projections were made.