Manhattan, Brooklyn markets could see spring thaw

Listings and activity tick up after streak of decline


Could Manhattan and Brooklyn housing markets be in store for a spring thaw?

That’s what new signed contracts and new listings data collected last month by appraisal firm Miller Samuel on behalf of Douglas Elliman suggest, though the report’s author was quick to say it’s unclear if the trend will continue.

“Part of that activity can be attributable to the previous drop in rates before the Fed did their last increase,” said Miller Samuel CEO Jonathan Miller, referring to the central bank’s quarter-point rate increase announced in early February. 

“I’m not sure if in March we’ll see the same growth,” Miller said. “I wouldn’t be surprised, but it’s not quite a trend yet.”

Manhattan’s market saw increases that Miller called “beyond seasonal.” The boosts came in listings across the co-op and one-to-three family building markets, along with new signed contracts increasing in the co-op and condo markets. 

But there are signs of tightness. There was a slight decline in new condo listings and new contracts fell for the second straight month in the one-to-three family market.

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New signed contracts are up 4.6 percent and new listings are down 29.1 percent from February 2020, the last comparable period before the pandemic. 

Brooklyn has seen a surge in activity in the last four months compared to pre-pandemic levels. Contract activity remained more than 30 percent above pre-pandemic levels in that period and in February was 52.5 percent higher. That’s despite new listings being down more than 8 percent from pre-pandemic levels. 

In line with that trend, inventory fell month-over-month in Brooklyn’s condo and co-op markets while listings and contracts rose in the one-to-three family market. 

The two factors keep prices from dropping as much as buyers might hope, Miller said. 

“This is the year of disappointment,” said Miller, citing his oft-used mantra for 2023. “Sellers aren’t going to get their price of 2021 and buyers aren’t going to see significant cost savings.”

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