As New York shut down, so did its resi market

Listings pulled by the hundreds and new ones drop 79% in brutal week

About 450 sellers pulled their listings last week (Credit: iStock)
About 450 sellers pulled their listings last week (Credit: iStock)

UPDATED, March 31, 2020, 2:22 p.m: Nearly 450 homes were pulled off the market, new listings plummeted and contract signings sank in Manhattan last week as the coronavirus pandemic worsened.

Data firm UrbanDigs compared the number of yanked listings, signings and new listings last week to the number in the same period a year ago to see how hard the city’s health crisis is hitting residential real estate. A brutal picture emerged.

New York began shutting down March 16 and reached full “pause” Sunday night as Gov. Andrew Cuomo closed all non-essential workplaces statewide. For real estate agents and brokers, that meant the end of in-person showings.

UrbanDigs’ data of the previous week show sellers abandoning the effort and buyers withdrawing.

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Contract signings were nearly halved to 109 from 214 in the same week last year.

The number of listings that went live in Manhattan sank by 79 percent with a mere 98 sellers pressing forward. In 2019, there were 459 new listings in the third week of March, which is typically one of the busiest months for owners to list their properties.

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Finally, the 448 properties that were removed last week represent a 276 percent increase from the 119 taken offline in 2019.

UrbanDigs’ founder and CEO Noah Rosenblatt noted that the 448 listings that came down likely remain available, if anyone’s buying.

“I think all that inventory is still really on the market,” he said, adding that the pent-up inventory that doesn’t enter the market during the pandemic could reappear once the health crisis ends.
“Only those sellers that are forced to liquidate right now” will keep listings live, he said. “Sellers who don’t have to sell will take it off the market.”

Rosenblatt’s analysis is no surprise. Concern about coronavirus and the accompanying volatility of major stock indexes was already dampening the sales market.

An analysis earlier in the month by appraiser Jonathan Miller found that new listing inventory of condos and co-ops had slowed to a crawl. Miller examined the first nine days of March and found a mere 2.2 percent growth in inventory on the market, as compared to historical 7 percent.

But deals were still going into contract last week and, until Sunday, agents were continuing to conduct showings. A handful of big-ticket closings were still happening.

Write to Erin Hudson at

Clarification: This story previously did not specify that UrbanDigs’ report only focused on Manhattan.