New York City’s Real Estate Market Heats Up

With a full week of 40 degree weather upon us, it’s about time for New York’s real estate market to heat up. Because finding the right apartment is hard enough without having to trudge through a foot of snow and subzero temperatures, the high season for buying and selling property in New York is mid-March through September, when the weather is warmer and families try to move before the start of the school year. Let’s take a look at what buyers and sellers can expect in the coming season.

According to a fourth quarter 2014 report from Douglas Elliman Real Estate, prices for Manhattan co-ops and condos were up 14.6% in 2014 as a result of low inventory. Supply on the Island is slated to increase this year as several new luxury condo developments hit the market, including a 93-unit building at 220 Central Park South and a 54-unit at 520 Park Avenue.

Despite this increase in availability, Manhattan homes will still be short in supply in comparison to the other boroughs; and Manhattan condo prices will continue to rise in 2015 but at a slower rate, perhaps by half as much as last year, according to Streeteasy. Overall, price increases between 7-14% are not such a bad deal for sellers and are a welcome relief to buyers who have seen worse in prior years.

For those looking to sell luxury condos and co-ops in Manhattan, outside of increasing inventory the only other concern may be how a strong dollar impacts demand from foreign buyers, of which there are many. But in a lot of these cases, buyers’ pockets are so deep that not even a pricier dollar is enough to significantly deter sales.

Outside of Manhattan, buyers looking in Brooklyn and Queens are in luck if only because they have more options to choose from. In 2014, Brooklyn experienced a 40% increase in inventory while Queens saw an increase of 6.7%, according to Douglas Elliman Real Estate. This trend is set to continue through this year, according to Streeteasy.

Sellers in these areas are also in good shape as prices rose 2.6% in Brooklyn and 15.5% in Queens in 2014. Some neighborhoods saw even bigger price increases, like 10.8% in Williamsburg and Greenpoint (Douglas Elliman). Despite growing inventory, demand in these boroughs is strong and prices will continue to rise through 2015.

Some additional considerations for buyers and sellers: properties that sell in the high season often fetch a premium, which means if you’re thinking of selling soon—it may be good to go on the market before the fall. On the flip side, buyers who wait until the fall may score better deals but will have slimmer pickings. Buyers should also keep their eyes on the mortgage market as some experts predict that rates are likely to increase this year as the market recovers and the Fed increases the interest rate this spring.

Finally, while seasonality may have some impact on the New York City real estate market, it’s still a strong seller’s market year round. If you have a top notch property in a high demand neighborhood like DUMBO, Vinegar Hill, or West Harlem, you will find a buyer no matter the weather.