July contract signings surge in city, sink in suburbs

Manhattan deals for homes last month surpassed 2019 levels

The flurry of deals can be attributed to low mortgage rates and vaccinations making residents feel safer. (iStock)
The flurry of deals can be attributed to low mortgage rates and vaccinations making residents feel safer. (iStock)

Contract signings for home purchases in the city boomed last month but fell into a lull in surrounding suburbs.

Manhattan and Brooklyn both saw more contracts signed than in the previous two Julys, according to a report by appraisal firm Miller Samuel for Douglas Elliman.

In Manhattan, 1,222 contracts were signed, more than double last year’s count. Of those, 693 were for co-ops, 509 were for condos and 20 were for single-family and multifamily homes.

In neighboring Brooklyn, 642 contracts were signed for 167 co-ops, 316 condos and 159 single-family and multifamily homes.

The flurry of deals can be attributed to low mortgage rates and vaccinations making residents feel safer, even with the Delta variant ripping through the country, said Jonathan Miller, who authored the report.

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Contract signings on Long Island — including the Hamptons and the North Fork — and in Westchester declined.

“It’s not that demand is cooling, or certainly not like how it was last summer when there was a frenzy coming out of the lockdown,” said Miller. “The problem with the suburbs is that … listing inventory is at record lows.”

New listings in Manhattan and Brooklyn fell year-over-year. Manhattan had 1,428 and Brooklyn had 757.

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Westchester County’s 600 new single-family listings and 182 new condo listings represented declines of 48 percent and 25 percent, respectively. The county saw 630 single-family contracts signed last month, a 36 percent drop from last year. Condo contracts fell by 15 percent to 133.

Only 150 new single-family home listings appeared in the Hamptons, along with six new condo listings. The North Fork had 54 new single-family listings and two for condos.

Contracts for single-family Hamptons homes declined for the second time since May 2020. Only 105 were signed, down 61 percent from last year. Condo deals went from 10 last July to nine this year.

On the North Fork, where for-sale signs are only slightly more common than ivory-billed woodpeckers, the number of single-family contracts saw an annual decline for the second month in a row. Only 40 were signed in July, a 52 percent decrease.

The rest of Long Island also saw declines. Deals for single-family homes and condos fell annually for the first time since last June. It saw 2,529 single family contracts signed, a 31 percent decrease from last year. The number of contracts for condos fell 14 percent from last year to 392.

In Fairfield County, Connecticut, new listings for single-family homes fell by 25 percent to 678, while new listings for condos fell by 20 percent to 246.

The county saw 1,248 contracts signed for single-family homes, 2 percent more than last July. Condos performed even better, with 453 contracts signed, an 81 percent increase.

Greenwich was the opposite, with 108 single-family contracts inked, a 10 percent annual increase. It saw 20 contracts signed for condos, a 31 percent decline. New listings for single-family homes fell by 9 percent, and for condos by 33 percent.