‘Buyer’s Market’ on the UWS; Latest Streeteasy Data Shows Home Sales Prices Dipping

While Upper West Side home prices are still astronomical based on most metrics, they’ve been dropping in the past year, according to the latest data from Streeteasy.

Sales prices have fallen and homes are staying on the market longer, according to Streeteasy’s Price Index, which measures median prices of resales of condos co-ops and townhouses (Each index uses a repeat-sales method of comparing the sales prices of the same properties since January 1995 in Manhattan).

Here’s what Streeteasy compiled about the neighborhood in an email to West Side Rag. The stats are from January, traditionally a slower month for home sales in the city.

“Upper West Side home shoppers are currently in the driver’s seat,” said StreetEasy economist Nancy Wu in a statement. “More and more homes are coming onto the market, which means that sellers here are facing stiffer competition to stand out. This is good news for buyers, because they now hold the negotiating power, and can afford to be picky during their home search.”

Photo by Bosc D’Anjou.

NEWS | 16 comments | permalink
    1. Sherman says:

      A couple of takes on this.

      All the development on the UWS – even though it’s almost exclusively upscale – increases supply. This inevitably lowers prices across the board.

      Second, the recently plunging stock market and global disruptions will also lower housing prices.

      • James says:

        Sherman,

        I am afraid this is a very basic understanding of supply and demand that does not take geography into account.

        Because NYC is a global city that sources people from all over the world, you do not have a fixed demand. The availability of more apartments upmarket can in-fact directly lead to an increase in demand from international and other non-local buyers, and thus the net impact on price is minimized.

        James

        • Sherman says:

          I disagree with you. It’s a bit of a myth that there’s a bottomless barrel of super wealthy people from around the country and the world who are willing to pay these insane prices in these new super luxury buildings.

          Ultimately the recent vast increase in supply will depress prices.

      • EricaC says:

        And the change in deductibility of state and local taxes coupled with the new mansion tax increase. That is going to depress prices significantly. Many thanks to both political parties …..

    2. RB says:

      Wow, for a $1MM, it truly is a buyer’s market for the wealthy! And for the rest of us we’ll have to continue to move out of Manhattan and have longer commutes in order to afford anything under $1MM.

      • WB233629 says:

        A $1mm apartment doesn’t make you wealthy by any stretch of the imagination. Many people purchasing apartments are stretching their budgets and have limited liquidity after a down payment. Others who are not as fortunate are looking at less expensive neighborhoods (some outside Manhattan).

        No one has a god given right to live in a specific place or have a short commute, it is a simple result of market forces (and the enormous barriers to entry to build new housing in Manhattan, including community opposition).

        • RB says:

          You’re right, no one has the right to live in NYC or anyone near it anymore; sad that just 10 years ago you could actually make it here and live here long-term in Brooklyn or Queens. So in 10 years will become a playground of Hudson Yard-type developments for the wealthy only or old money (a lot of UWS frankly).

      • B.B. says:

        Have news for you, won’t find a decent house in a reasonably good part of Brooklyn, Queens, or Staten Island for much less than $1 million either.

        You can go across river to NJ or parts of Westchester or LI and find something for one million, but there’s a catch; property taxes usually are very high. Maplewood or Montclair are examples.

        Besides tremendous amount of inventory both existing and coming online, prices are dropping for several other reasons.

        People are moving out to the suburbs (again) because it offers value for money.

        One million will get you a rather small one bedroom in some of these new condos that are high on amenities, but low in space and quite frankly build quality.

        On top of that you still have to fight battles in finding good public school for your children, etc….

        You can move to NJ, Westchester, or LI and pay more or even less for a much larger property (a house), that offers space. But more importantly for tax dollars extracted you get great to excellent public schools along with other local amenities.

    3. Paul says:

      The market is so inflated that some reduction would be both predictable and desirable.

      It’s also the inevitable result of the tax law of 2017 which folded personal exemptions into a standard deduction and limited SALT deductions. This adds as much as 10% to the net monthly cost of carrying a coop or condo unit.

      This added cost is obvious to any buyer. And any seller wishing to attract a buyer on a budget (as almost all are) has to cut his or her asking price.

      Allan Sloan in Business Insider wrote recently that the 2017 bill shaved about a trillion in equity off owners’ wealth, overwhelmingly in the Blue States.

      Indeed, if prices are only off by 3% then sellers are lucky.

    4. RB says:

      It increases the supply for a finite number of people who can afford $1MM+ units. And if they have to include affordable housing in that building that helps that group. But I’ve yet to see anything that helps anyone in the middle (and no, I DON’T mean middle class). There’s a huge group of people in NYC that don’t qualify for affordable housing and don’t make enough to buy a 1 bedroom unless they move so far away from work that you may as well move out of state than keep paying high NYC income taxes, cost of living, etc.

      • wb233629 says:

        You are correct in that there is a tremendous amount of attention paid to the least fortunate members of society and less attention paid to those earning between $50,000-$125,000 a year.

        Affordable housing should be made available to those with middle incomes which, when adjusted for the cost of living in the NYC Metro are not comfortable.

        However, the real solve all of the items related to the housing shortage is density and a real barrier to redevelopment are the rent control laws that make it impossible to vacate a building. We should advocate for adding density along all major avenues provided the additional density goes primarily to affordable housing across an income spectrum ranging to as much as $150-$200,000 / yr for a family. We should also remove the requirement to distribute affordable units equally throughout a building if the goal is to increase the number of units. In essence, we should allow affordable units to be at the podium of a building, pushing the most profitable units higher and thus achieving higher prices and increasing development viability. While preserving the scale of a neighborhood is important, we do live in the middle of an extremely urban environment and need to recognize that development, if done correctly, benefits everyone.

    5. UWSDrew says:

      With all the stores closing the allure of living in the city is fading anyway. We are all to blame for ordering everything online and its come full circle. As I order online knowing a lot of it will be at my door in 2 hours, and the rest of it in 2 days I often ask myself… Why am I paying this high rent? I could be getting all this stuff delivered to me in a much bigger place out in the burbs. And have actual real people living around me instead of vacant store fronts.

    6. UWS walkup says:

      I’m all for the politically unpopular, supply-side solutions which are also likely the most effective solutions to housing costs:
      1) Remove barriers to development. Increase SAR ratios, etc
      2) Eliminate rent control and rent stabilization which are NOT income-based solutions, reduce investment in properties, and eliminate the ability to clear building and blocks for the development of MORE units.

    7. JerryV says:

      People sometimes forget that owning a $1 million apartment does not mean that you shelled out $ million for it. In many (perhaps most) cases the bank or mortgage company owns more of it than does the “owner”.