Cash is king on Manhattan’s West Side 

TRD Data examines where all-cash buyers have been investing the most since 2021

Top NYC Neighborhoods For All-Cash Buyers
(Getty)

When New York City’s residential real estate market tightened last year, cash became king among buyers eager to stand out in crowded bidding wars

All-cash buyers can close faster and avoid elevated mortgage rates, along with potentially securing significant discounts for dropping the funds upfront. But not all of the city’s enclaves drew the same share of buyers bringing cash to the table. 

To get an idea of where in the city these deals are going down, The Real Deal scoured the city’s ACRIS database for all condominium purchases in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens over the past two years that did not involve a mortgage loan. The resulting sample comprised 9,433 deals totaling over $19 billion in cold, hard cash. 

For this analysis, TRD divided the sample into two parts — transactions recorded from Oct. 1, 2021, to Oct. 1, 2022, and transactions recorded from Oct. 2, 2022 to Oct. 1, 2023.

The first period saw 4,752 all-cash buys totaling nearly $10 billion, while the second period counted 4,681, totaling just over $9 billion.

While there were more all-cash transactions in the first period than the second, the overall drop in all deals in the Oct. 2, 2022 to Oct. 1, 2023 period meant that cash buys claimed a larger share of all condo deals.

From Oct. 1, 2021, to Oct. 1, 2022, 25.5 percent of the 18,641 condo buys in the three boroughs were in cash, while cash buys were nearly 41 percent of the 11,436 transactions in the second period. 

Manhattan had the highest proportion of all-cash transactions, with nearly 33 percent in the first period and over 47 percent in the second. 

The change follows the spike in mortgage rates, a result of the Federal Reserve’s repeated rate hikes that deterred borrowers and ceded the field to buyers with cash.

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“The shock change in interest rates, I’ve seen it knock out buyers,”  Corcoran broker Ryan Kaplan told TRD at the time

The sweet spot for cash buys in Manhattan appears to be homes in the $1 million to $3 million range. Across both periods tracked by TRD, nearly 48 percent of the borough’s all-cash transactions were for condos in that price range.

In the first period, the posh enclave of Tribeca attracted the most cash, with 152 upfront purchases totaling over $802 million. The Upper West Side’s Lincoln Square had more than 100 more all-cash transactions, but they totaled just under $763 million. Chelsea rounded out the top three in the 2021-2022 period, with 220 cash buys totaling nearly $742 million. 

But Chelsea topped Tribeca in the second period — due mostly to a sharp drop volume for the Triangle Below Canal. Chelsea had 251 all-cash transactions from Oct. 2, 2022 to Oct. 1, 2023, totaling nearly $746 million, while Tribeca had 126 adding up to less than $655 million. Lincoln Square rounded out the top three with 206 cash buys totaling nearly $612 million.

To access the full dataset underlying the rankings as well as key contact information, check out TRD Data, The Real Deal’s new data subscription platform. 

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