The resilience of the Manhattan residential real estate market was on full display in the first quarter of 2021. A new year and multiple vaccines restored hope. Coupled together with the city's unwavering appeal, inspired buyers purchased dwellings suited for a hybrid world – units with space for home offices, workout areas, and intimate gatherings.
Overall, apartment sales increased 4.8% compared to the same period last year and soared 37% quarter-over-quarter. Most notably, units priced in the lower half of the market, between $1 million and $3 million, captured 40% of the market – an all- time high. This record was made possible by a strong appetite from local buyers who believe in the city's resiliency and long-term potential.
Buyers also continued to have an affinity for downtown, specifically TriBeCa and the West Village. Downtown had the highest average price of any submarket. While Upper Manhattan, which encompasses Inwood and Washington Heights to Harlem and East Harlem, also was a preferred destination. Buyers searching for more space at more affordable prices flocked to the
area, driving sales prices northward by 18% year-over-year.
In Midtown West, high inventory contributed to average prices falling 20%, but the area is likely to rebound as people return to the office. On the luxury side, deep pandemic discounts have started to be a thing of the past, as the market begins to correct itself, underscoring the trust sellers have in their assets' long-term value. In recent weeks, contracts signed have reached numbers not seen in many years. For instance, luxury contracts signed in February reached the highest total in six years. 51 Contracts were signed last week at $4 million and above. Last week's total is roughly equivalent to ALL of the deals inked at $4 million and above in the 13-week shutdown last year. The 51 contracts signed last week also extends a record-breaking luxury market streak of 30 or more deals to 10 weeks in a row. Downtown led the way with 41 of the 51 contracts signed.
We expect this surge to carry on at all price points as the city's many cultural attractions safely reopen, the COVID-19 vaccines continue to be distributed, and sellers keep taking advantage of low-interest rates.
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