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New Sales Inventory Drops to Historic Low: New York

News Editor



April is typically the most popular month for sellers to list their homes on the New York City market, with 5,095 added in the month last year.

This year, however, with NYC an epicenter of the global coronavirus pandemic, only 717 new homes came on the market — an 85% decline from 2019, according to the StreetEasy Market Reports.

As the pandemic hit New York City, many would-be home sellers avoided the market altogether, likely opting to wait for buyer demand to return. The drop of more than 4,300 homes from 2019’s new inventory level also translated to a sharp drop in the share of price cuts being offered by sellers. In Manhattan, only 2.1% of homes for sale had a price cut in April – a drop of 12.2 percentage points from last year, and a record low for the borough. 

However, the 2.1% of sellers that were making price cuts in April were determined to make a sale. The median price cut in Manhattan was a record high 5.9% off the asking price, or a median of $100,241. The highest median price cut previously observed in Manhattan was 5.4%, in January 2016.

Driven sellers were also taking steps to make their homes stand out in this uncertain time. In April, 132% more listings included a walkthrough video or a 3D Home® tour compared to March, showing that sellers are working to adapt to the stay-at-home order and public health protocols.

“Most New Yorkers who don’t absolutely need to buy or sell right now simply aren’t doing so,” says StreetEasy Economist Nancy Wu. “The massive drop in inventory shows us that the majority of would-be sellers can wait, and are opting to do so to avoid any pressure to make price cuts.” 

“Even so, there are still highly motivated sellers on the market right now. Those that bought a new home just prior to the pandemic, or need to move for employment opportunities or growing families, are doing whatever they can to get their existing homes off the market – including offering higher discounts.”

See below for additional sales and rental market trends across Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens.

April 2020 Key Findings — Manhattan

Manhattan prices continued to drop in April, a trend that has been occurring for the past three years. The StreetEasy Manhattan Price Index[ii] fell 2.7%, to $1,075,366. In Upper Manhattan[iii], the borough’s least-expensive submarket, prices rose 5.0% to $656,383 — the only increase seen across the borough. The StreetEasy Manhattan Rent Index, which is based on prices of repeat rental units in NYC, increased to $3,308, up 2.5% from last year, which was the slowest pace of growth seen in 2020 thus far. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the rentals market was coping with major disruptions in April, and it’s possible that we may see rent price growth continue to slow.

April 2020 Key Findings — Brooklyn

Prices in Brooklyn fell at the fastest pace since August 2019, with the StreetEasy Brooklyn Price Index down 1.8% to $689,989. New sales inventory in the borough hit the lowest level in seven years, with 247 homes coming onto the market. Rents continued to climb, as they did before the coronavirus pandemic. In April, the StreetEasy Brooklyn Rent Index hit a record high $2,755 — up 4.8% from last year.

April 2020 Key Findings — Queens

Borough-wide, prices in Queens stayed flat at $510,345. Prices rose 3.0% to $791,203 in Northwest Queens[v], the borough’s most expensive submarket, but at the slowest pace of 2020 thus far. New inventory fell 82.3% in the borough — with just 156 homes listed on the market in April — following the citywide trend. The StreetEasy Queens Rent Index increased to $2,209, up 3.2% from last year.

About StreetEasy

StreetEasy is reimagining the way people buy, sell, and rent homes in New York City and New Jersey. Used more than any other local real estate platform, StreetEasy’s website and mobile apps provide vetted and verified listings, plus intuitive search tools and data-driven guides to help people unlock the opportunity of living here. Consumers and real estate professionals can stay up-to-date on the latest real estate trends through StreetEasy’s Market Reports and explore and download market data for free on the StreetEasy Data Dashboard. Launched in 2006 and based in NoMad, Manhattan, StreetEasy is owned and operated by Zillow Group (NASDAQ: Z and ZG) and is a registered trademark of Zillow, Inc.

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