Residential contract signings plummet in NYC, hold steady in Hamptons

Deal volume in the Hamptons remained on par with a year ago, but saw new listings soar

TRD New York /
Jun.June 18, 2020 09:00 AM
In Manhattan and Brooklyn, signed contract activity was down last month by a wide margin compared to a year earlier (iStock)

In Manhattan and Brooklyn, signed contract activity was down last month by a wide margin compared to a year earlier (iStock)

New York’s three-month shutdown largely ground new residential deals to a halt — and the number of contract signings in May bears that out.

In Manhattan and Brooklyn, signed contract activity was down last month by a wide margin compared to a year earlier, according to a new monthly report from Douglas Elliman and appraiser Jonathan Miller that tracks new listing activity by property type at all price points. But as city dwellers fled to the suburbs, the Hamptons market held steady, and even saw the number of new listings skyrocket.

Buyers signed 125 contracts for Manhattan co-ops in May, an 80 percent drop from 628 last year. Condos saw deal volume plummet even further to a grand total of 99, down nearly 83 percent from 566 in May 2019. Single family homes in the borough were down 50 percent year-over-year with two signed contracts.

In Brooklyn, signed contract activity for co-ops was down 76 percent year-over-year with 24 properties going into contract last month. Condos didn’t suffer as much with 78 contracts signed, a 44 percent decline compared to the 140 signed a year earlier. Single-family homes saw a 66 percent drop to just 17 signed contracts last month, compared to 50 last year.

Long Island also saw contract activity fall dramatically with 973 single-family homes going into contract, a 64 percent drop. Condos saw 106 contracts, a 73 percent decline.

The Hamptons and North Fork offered a brighter picture. In the Hamptons, contract signings remained steady with 97 homes going into contract, about the same as a year prior. The North Fork saw a 24 percent dip with 31 homes going into contract from 41 in May 2019.

The Hamptons also saw the number of listings coming online in May rise significantly. The number of homes listed rose a stunning 123 percent with 134 properties coming online compared to just 60 last year. Every other market saw the number of new listings drop in May.

Elliman COO and president Scott Durkin said the new reports will give agents and the public access a window into “the beginning of the deal” across all price points and multiple geographies.

When listing volume or contracts signed at certain price points and property types, “it all affects demand” and therefore pricing and negotiating strategy, Durkin said.

Over the last three months, agents have relied on virtual tours to show homes. Now, New York City is on track to enter the second phase of reopening, which will allow in-person showings to resume. Long Island entered that phase earlier this month.

Write to Erin Hudson at [email protected]


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