Manhattan’s new development sales show signs of life

Q1’s inventory and signed contracts point to a busy spring ahead

Bounce-Back In Store For Manhattan New Development

(Photo Illustration by Steven Dilakian for The Real Deal with Getty)

Manhattan can expect a bounceback in new development sales this spring.

Closed sales fell by roughly a third year-over-year, but signed contracts fell by just 4.5 percent, according to a quarterly report from Serhant. Inventory is also up 10 percent from last year. 

While some of that may be due to the timing of construction, Serhant’s Ravi Kantha said growing consumer confidence is also at play when it comes to new inventory. 

“If you’re sitting down as a broker with a developer today, I would be far more likely to say things look pretty good, we should release some of the inventory we’ve been holding back, or it’s a good time to get out there,” said Kantha. 

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Almost 40 percent of sales were in downtown Manhattan, where sponsor units commanded an average price per square foot of $2,350. The second most popular market was Upper Manhattan, where 16 percent of the sales occurred at an average price per square foot of $1,500 per square foot. 

The Upper West Side saw the average price per square foot fall 8.5 percent to $2,175, but the median price over that timeframe fell less than 1 percent to nearly $4 million, suggesting the inventory there has increased in size. 

The lack of inventory and trend towards larger units pushed prices up considerably over the first quarter of last year. The median price across Manhattan rose 28 percent to $2.7 million, while the average rose 7 percent to $4 million, although the price per square foot rose less than 1 percent. 

“We’re not in a booming market, but we’re not in a bad market,” said Kantha. “Being the building or the project that has some momentum from a couple of big sales, that’s priceless. That could be the difference between selling the building out quickly at a great price or being on the market for two or three years with nothing.”

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