Battery Park City and the Financial District are beginning to feel the first effects of the pandemic.
Leasing activity in Lower Manhattan plummeted last quarter, while its sales market was a mixed bag, according to quarterly market reports by brokerage Platinum Properties.
The number of units leased in Battery Park City sunk about 27 percent to 163 from 223 a year ago. In FiDi, the number of units rented fell even further to 453, a 35 percent year-over-year drop from 701.
Rental inventory also fell in both neighborhoods. Battery Park City’s inventory sank 41 percent to 274 units on the market, while FiDi inventory plunged more than 50 percent to 757 units.
Teresa Stephenson, a partner at Platinum, said she expects vacancy and, in turn, concessions to surge when the state’s stay-at-home order lifts. She said her agents were reporting more landlords offering tenants short-term renewals to stay in units, while at the same time some tenants are breaking leases to leave New York City.
“I think we’re going to see a lot of leasing activity,” Stephenson said, adding that “you’ll also have people ready to leave the apartment they’ve spent the past two months in.”
FiDi’s sales market trended upward, in step with the rest of Manhattan. The number of sales in Wall Street’s residential enclave climbed about 7 percent year over year to 45 and the median sales price also rose by 3.5 percent to $1.05 million.
But Battery Park City’s sales market bucked the trend. The tony submarket saw 20 residential sales last quarter, a 17 percent year-over-year drop. The median sales price slipped nearly 34 percent to just over $1 million from $1.5 million.
In the final quarter of 2019, FiDi saw its sales plunge a stark 45 percent year over year, while sales in Battery Park jumped 32 percent compared to 2018.
Trends in the two neighborhoods’ sales and rental markets largely mirrored activity in the broader Manhattan market, where lease signings in March saw their second largest annual decline in more than 11 years. Sales in Manhattan, meanwhile, jumped during the first quarter of 2020 as prices dropped.
Platinum agents Carole Becker and Katya Hrabianiuk said interest from buyers and sellers began tapering off in February amid uncertainty of the pandemic and stock market.
Hrabianiuk said that uncertainty over the renegotiation of Battery Park City’s land leases pushed buyers to halt searches in the neighborhood. Most building leases are slated to expire around 2069, and Hrabianiuk said renegotiations are likely to begin in the 2030s.
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