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Signs of life in New York home sales

The Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) today reported that New York City’s total residential sales volume and total residential transactions increased significantly in the final quarter of 2020.

According to the board’s Q4 2020 Quarterly Residential Sales Report, the end-of-year surge was driven by particularly strong activity in the four boroughs outside Manhattan.

Citywide total residential sales volume increased to $9 billion in Q4 2020 from $6.5 billion in Q3 2020, representing a nearly 40 percent quarterly increase in sales volume. This turnaround came after three consecutive quarters of declining sales volume.

Citywide total residential transactions increased to 9,397 sales in Q4 2020 from 6,305 sales in Q3 2020, representing a nearly 50 percent quarterly increase in transactions. This boost in activity also came after three consecutive quarters of declining transactions.

Even as major quarterly increases marked a step forward in New York City’s recovery, both citywide residential sales volume and transactions in Q4 2020 showed year-over-year declines of 10 percent and seven percent, respectively, compared to Q4 2019 – demonstrating just how severely the citywide real estate market has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Last year was a historically difficult one for New York City and the real estate industry that fuels its economy. This end-of-year surge in home sales is another positive sign that the City has begun down a long road to recovery,” said REBNY President James Whelan. 


“This momentum can be maintained and accelerated by securing much needed state and local aid from the federal government, successful vaccination and rapid testing efforts, and strong local, State and federal leadership that promotes more economic activity and an improved quality of life for all New Yorkers.”

Condominiums, cooperatives, and one-to-three family homes each observed quarterly increases in both sales volume and transactions. Citywide condominium transactions increased 48% to 2,040 units; Citywide cooperative transactions increased 18% to 2,007 units; and citywide one-to-three family home transactions increased 66% to 5,350 units.

The report also found significant quarterly changes from Q3 to Q4 2020 by borough:

  • Brooklyn: Sales volume increased 90% and transactions increased 73%
  • Queens: Sales volume increased 69% and transactions increased 56%
  • Staten Island: Sales volume increased 56% and transactions increased 52%
  • Bronx: Sales volume increased 50% and transactions increased 39%
  • Manhattan: Sales volume remained flat while transactions increased 18%

The Quarterly Residential Sales Report is New York City’s most comprehensive compilation of residential sales data. Launched in 2006, the report captures the citywide and by borough breakdowns of closing data for condominiums, cooperatives and one-to-three family dwellings. Additionally, for the first time, the Quarterly Residential Sales Report now captures the active and in-contract data for Manhattan and Brooklyn as a result of REBNY’s partnership with Perchwell, a real estate data and analytics platform.

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