'Cheaper' Manhattan Co-ops See Buying Boost in October Units < $1M Record Highest Sales Growth

A recent report from appraiser Miller Samuel Inc. and brokerage Douglas Elliman Real Estate shows a burgeoning interest in buying co-op apartments on the cheaper end of the Manhattan spectrum (‘cheap’ being a very relative term, of course). In their monthly report of new signed contracts in New York’s five boroughs and Long Island, as well as Westchester and Fairfield Counties and Greenwich, Connecticut, Miller Samuel and Douglas Elliman cite October statistics showing a year-over-year increase in sales for Manhattan co-ops under $2 million—the first for co-op contracts at any price point in data going back to May 2020, according to BloombergQuints account of the report.  

Contracts to buy co-op units for $500,000 to $999,000 jumped 12% from a year earlier, and those closing for $1 million to $1.99 million climbed 9.9%, according to the report. 

BloombergQuint notes that this recent uptick in Manhattan co-op purchases at a time when urban flight seems to be a hallmark of the COVID era might be attributable to “entry-level buyers who see a future in the city [and] are sensing a chance to get a place at a discount.” 

Co-ops in particular are seeing activity, says Jonathan Miller, president of Miller Samuel, because units are older and cheaper and their owners might be interested in letting go of their units at a fair price. “That’s what’s getting the first look,” says Miller. “We’re not seeing the same upswing in the condo market in those same price points.” 

The report indicates that contracts for Manhattan condos across all price levels fell 28% in October from a year earlier.

By contrast, the report also reveals that deals in the outer boroughs, suburbs, and vacation-home markets continue to surge—most likely owing to ongoing telecommuting by the city’s office workers and their pandemic-fueled desire for space and privacy. In Brooklyn, for example, co-op contracts jumped 74% in October from the previous year, while condo deals rose 53%. BloombergQuint also notes that this October’s pending purchases of single-family homes doubled in the Hamptons and climbed 51% in Westchester County from the same month last year. 

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