Manhattan Residential Sales in March Soared to Highest Level in 14 Years

Manhattan’s residential real-estate market, dormant for months after many New Yorkers fled near the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, closed the first quarter by posting its strongest sales in years.

In March, around 1,500 Manhattan residences were in contract for sale. That marked the highest number of deals for any one month in 14 years, according to real-estate analytics firm UrbanDigs.

The surge in sales reflects pent-up demand following a severe slowdown during the early months of the pandemic, when New York City was at a standstill as the virus surged, said Noah Rosenblatt, co-founder of UrbanDigs. Buyers are now jumping back into the market as the vaccine rollout accelerates and confidence grows that New York City is safe following a pandemic that has killed more than 31,000 residents.

“We have a rubber-band effect going on in Manhattan,” Mr. Rosenblatt said. “We pulled the rubber band one way, in a bad direction, during 2020, and now it’s kind of shooting back the other way.”

Buyers have been taking advantage of low mortgage rates and seized on the chance to pick up prime Manhattan real estate at lower prices. The median sales price for Manhattan co-ops was $780,000 in the first quarter, down 3.8% year-over-year, according to brokerage Douglas Elliman. Condos, meanwhile, sold for a median price of $1.55 million, down 4.7%.

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