New development condo sales slow for second straight month

Brooklyn sees most dramatic decline of any borough, but activity remains far higher than pre-Covid

From left: Skyline Tower in Queens, 53W53 in Manhattan, Olympia Dumbo in Brooklyn (53W53.com, OlympiaDumbo.com, Jim.henderson, CC BY-SA 4.0/via Wikimedia Commons, iStock)
From left: Skyline Tower in Queens, 53W53 in Manhattan, Olympia Dumbo in Brooklyn (53W53.com, OlympiaDumbo.com, Jim.henderson, CC BY-SA 4.0/via Wikimedia Commons, iStock)

After a buying craze that characterized much of last year, sales of new development condos slowed across the city in May for the second straight month. Still, the market remains robust compared to pre-pandemic times — especially in Manhattan.

Buyers signed contracts for 360 sponsor units in May, down 9 percent from April, according to a new report from Marketproof. Despite the monthly decline, activity was still 46 percent higher than in May 2019.

And while contracts slowed across the city, Brooklyn’s 112 represented a 22 percent drop from April, the most precipitous of any borough, but a 9 percent increase from May 2019. By contrast, Manhattan saw 201 contracts, an 11 percent drop from last month, but a 70 percent increase from May 2019.

The fact that Brooklyn — where demand for new condos recovered more quickly from the pandemic than in Manhattan — saw the most drastic drop could signal a turning point in the market, according to Marketproof CEO Kael Goodman.

Marketproof CEO Kael Goodman (LinkedIn/Kael Goodman)

Marketproof CEO Kael Goodman (LinkedIn/Kael Goodman)

“Some of this stuff is kind of surprising, but it’s exciting because it still shows how dynamic the New York City market is,” Goodman said. “I think maybe there’s some equalization going on between Brooklyn and Manhattan that just makes Manhattan more of an attractive opportunity.”

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Queens was the exception to the downward trend, with an 81 percent increase in sponsor contracts from April to May. While the borough has far fewer new development condos — just 47 contracts were signed there last month — the dramatic increase signifies the vigor of the emerging market, particularly in Long Island City and Astoria.

Unsurprisingly, the priciest contract in May was for a unit on Manhattan’s Billionaires’ Row: a penthouse at 53 West 53rd Street asking $33.1 million.

But top tier buyers are not the only ones in the game. Contracts for sponsor units asking less than $2 million rose 4 percent in May after dipping in April, while resales in that price tier jumped 11 percent. The increase is surprising, given that buyers in that price range tend to be more sensitive to rising mortgage rates.

The median price per unit decreased 17 percent in May, a sign that activity is shifting toward the lower end of the market. Brooklyn’s most expensive contract was for a 19th-floor unit at Olympia Dumbo asking $5.5 million. The three priciest contracts in Queens, all at Skyline Tower, were each for units asking below $2 million.

“Maybe the [rising mortgage] rate is less of a factor than we thought it might be,” said Goodman. “Maybe.”

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JDS Development Group’s Michael Stern and 111 West 57th Street; Fortis Property Group’s Jonathan Landau and Olympia Dumbo (Olympia Dumbo, 111 West 57, Fortis Property Group, iStock)
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