By Holly Dutton
A new report released shows New Yorkers are jumping back on the buying bandwagon.
StreetEasy.com released a monthly report for the Manhattan condo market that shows new contracts signed in the month of July are up 26.7% from last year. “We had a really strong selling spring season and it seemed to continue into the summer,” said Sofia Song, vice president for research at StreetEasy. Song said the reason for the upturn is a return in “buyer confidence” and people entering the market are taking advantage of historically low interest rates. “You’re finding renters that are discovering it’s probably better if they purchase a starter home because the rental market has been so hot and expensive that you have a lot of people thinking it’s worthwhile to buy,” said Song.
Upper Manhattan saw the most new contracts signed, with a 59% increase from last year, while the Upper West Side had the lowest increase with a 2.6% gain. As for next month’s report, Song predicts an increase in the number of closings from a year ago and a slight rise in prices. Jeffrey Levine, chairman of Levine Builders, said he believes the uptick of activity in Upper Manhattan is all about supply and demand. “I think the general demand is stronger and supply is limited,” said Levine. “We have supply in Upper Manhattan and demand expressed by buying units.”
After the Lehman Brothers financial collapse in 2008 and 2009, there was lot of overhang, he said. “In Lower Manhattan, there’s lower product since 2009 because there’s been little financing for condo projects in recent times,” he said. “The projects are smaller in size, because it’s difficult to finance because there’s a longer period of absorption. “Typically, you’re seeing more condo projects of 50 to 100 units instead of 150 to 200 you would have seen years ago.”Levine predicts land prices will go up in the coming months and, in general, an increase in supply of condos coming to market.