March inventory numbers bode well for city’s housing market

Newly signed contracts rose annually for the first time in 2022

(iStock / Photo illustration by Priyanka Modi for The Real Deal)
(iStock / Photo illustration by Priyanka Modi for The Real Deal)

Spring listing season is here, and not a moment too soon for New York City’s drum-tight residential market.

New listings in Manhattan and Brooklyn increased year-over-year in March for the third straight month and newly signed contracts for homes rose annually for the first time in 2022, according to a report by Douglas Elliman compiled by Miller Samuel.

New listings for Manhattan condos and co-ops rose 15 percent and 17 percent, respectively. The 45 one- to three-family homes that hit the Manhattan market were a dozen more than did last March.

Contract signings in Manhattan went up 6 percent for condos and 3 percent for co-ops. Only eight contracts were signed to purchase one- to three-family homes, down from 24 a year ago.

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Not all contracts lead to sales, but signings indicate where sales numbers will be in the coming months.

In Brooklyn, contracts to purchase condos rose 13 percent year-over-year, while co-op deals were flat. Agreements for one- to three-family homes were up 4 percent. Though the number of co-ops on the market fell by a third, inventory rose by 10 percent for condos and 38 percent for one- to three-family homes.

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“Seasonally, we are seeing inventory rise,” said Jonathan Miller, the author of the report. “One of the advantages Manhattan has over the rest of the region is that there’s inventory to sell.”

Indeed, New York’s suburban home markets remain oxygen-deprived. On Long Island, the decline in available homes for nine of the past 10 months has constrained contract signings since June.

For Nassau and Suffolk counties, excluding the Hamptons and North Fork, new contracts for single-family homes fell 15 percent as new listings decreased 6 percent year-over-year. Condo contracts were down 6 percent and listings, 17 percent.

In Westchester, new contracts for single-family homes were down 19 percent, while deals for condos were down 5 percent. Inventory fell 27 and 24 percent, respectively.

The difference in March numbers between New York City and its outskirts may have to do with buyers warming up to the city well after their fling with the suburbs.

Manhattan “was late to the party. Demand really kicked in about nine months after the suburbs,” Miller said.