Coronavirus

Manhattan sellers try to tough out the shutdown with pre-coronavirus pandemic prices

“[I]n a market without active buyers touring homes, giving feedback, and making offers, a price cut is simply negotiating against oneself,” Noah Rosenblatt of UrbanDigs writes in his latest report.

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A surprisingly low number of Manhattan sellers have dropped their prices during New York’s shutdown.

Noah Rosenblatt, founder and CEO of UrbanDigs, a Manhattan real estate analytics site, partly attributes the drop to a move by listing sites to freeze their days on market counters—removing the stigma of listings that linger.

But that’s not the only reason. In his new weekly report on Manhattan real estate, he also pins sellers’ stance on the shutdown itself: “[I]n a market without active buyers touring homes, giving feedback, and making offers, a price cut is simply negotiating against oneself,” he writes.

Rosenblatt characterizes sellers—the ones who are in still in the market—as having been in the game for over six months. “[M]ost sellers appear content to remain at pre-Covid prices, and let bids come to them once the market thaws,” he writes. 

UrbanDigs’ latest report looks at price reductions and contracts signed by neighborhood, price range, and bedroom since March 22nd, when New York’s shutdown order went into effect. The report finds both co-ops and condos saw similar average price cuts of 10.2 and 10.5 percent, respectively.

UrbanDigs reports the total number of price reductions declined 92 percent, with 52 reductions in the period March 22nd through April 6th, 2020, from 663 in the same period last year. (However, inventory fell also significantly in the first quarter, a trend likely deepening in the second quarter. Having far fewer listings on the market naturally reduces the number of price reductions.)

The number of contracts signed fell 69 percent with 146 deals signed during the shutdown so far, compared to 472 deals signed in the year-ago period. Most represent deals where the buyers already had a chance to view the property, the report notes. The number of contracts signed is expected to continue dropping.

Midtown showed the most activity, however the Upper West Side, which usually trails Downtown and the Upper East Side, is seeing some sales volume.