Elegran Manhattan Market Update: March 2023
Manhattan Market Update: Still a Strong Buyer’s Market
In February, demand continued to underperform its pre-pandemic average*, yet is marching towards parity. Supply is more robust than its pre-pandemic average, and price per square foot has waned over the past few months. Combined, these three factors keep Manhattan in a buyer’s market.
A litmus test for the above is median listing discount. Discounts are increasing — a sign of a buyer’s market. Another test is days on market, a metric that has also increased M-O-M and Y-O-Y, signaling the same.
* the period January 5, 2015 to March 1, 2020
Within our weekly reports, we discuss the bi-annual supply cycle, with crests in spring and fall and troughs in summer and winter. January is the low point of the initial cycle, so numbers will continue to increase from here until June.
The bar chart directly below illustrates that total supply in February (6202 units) is higher than its pre-pandemic 2013–2020 average of 5726 units.
The second bar chart below informs us that new supply is less volatile than total supply, and that February’s number (1306 units) is on par with the pre-pandemic 2013–2020 average of 1,333 units.
Manhattan Buyer Activity
After spending seven months below its pre-pandemic 2015–2020 average, demand for Manhattan residential real estate, as measured by contracts signed, was on its way back toward parity in February.
Manhattan Leverage Indicator
Elegran’s Leverage Indicator informs us whether the current is a buyer’s or a seller’s market; i.e, which party possesses transactional leverage. Looking at the graph below, this is indicated by the direction of trendlines. Our indicator also informs us about the relative strength of that leverage, indicated by the slope of those trendlines. Per below, Manhattan is in the grips of a strong buyer’s market.
The change in direction of the line between Oct-2022 and Nov-2022 may indicate a transition from buyer’s market to seller’s market. However, as one can see from the choppy nature of the data, there’s a very large number of false positives. We also don’t believe that this is the case since both listing discounts and days on market are on the rise, and because price/sf is on the decline.
What we can say is that the slope of the current trendline has flattened somewhat, indicating that the strength of the current buyer’s market has waned recently. But to what degree remains to be seen.
Price/SF & Discounts
Price per square foot has trended slightly downward the past few months, yet is still on par with previous highs reached at various points throughout 2015–2017 and 2019.
The chart below indicates that listing discounts are still on the rise. This goes hand in hand with the observation that demand is lower than its historical average and also confirms our indicator’s suggestion that the present is a buyer’s market. If it were a seller’s market, listing discounts would be falling.
What this means for…
- Due to the combination of slightly lower-than-normal demand, greater than-normal supply, and retreating price/sf, Manhattan continues to be a buyer’s market, meaning buyers should be rewarded for their patience.
- Although mortgage rates are expected to tick up in the next term, if they begin to recede longer out of the curve, such a move could catalyze demand and slowly force the transition from a buyer’s to a seller’s market.
- A buyer’s market suggests that sellers should move forward with a sale quickly, but hope is on the horizon as the Feds become less hawkish in their rate policy.
- Sellers who are betting that prices will strengthen in the near future should consider leasing in the meantime as rents have decreased a bit, though they are still historically very high.
- A resistance level was reached over the summer that forced rents to cool. That being said, they’re still very high. But so are asking prices. Plus, 6.7% mortgage rates still tip the rent-versus-buy scale in favor of leasing.
- Mortgage rates have let the air out of leveraged cap rates, but cash buyers can still source opportunities on account of near-record rents.
- On the sell side, a relatively strong USD affords foreign investors (depending on their native currency) the opportunity to yield significant capital gains upon the sale of their asset.
- On the buy side, the weakening dollar creates opportunities for foreigners to purchase Manhattan real estate and capitalize on its notorious market stability and potential for price appreciation.
If you would like to chat about the most recent market activity, feel free to contact us at email@example.com or connect with one of our Advisors.
Our goal is simple: to humanize the world of real estate. Michael Rossi founded Elegran in 2008 on the dual premise of motivation and innovation, with a third sustaining principle added over the years: care. Unique in the industry as an independently owned brokerage with agents known as “advisors” and a data-centered approach, the firm has become a key player in the New York brokerage world. The exclusive NYC member of the invitation-only Forbes Global Properties network, Elegran oversaw well over $500 million in sales volume in 2019, tripled market share in 2020 and sold US $1B in 2021. Headquartered in the center of Manhattan, Elegran is solely dedicated to serving the incomparable needs of the New York City metropolitan region. For more information about Elegran, visit www.elegran.com.