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More people than ever are snapping up a home in Manhattan

Everyone’s getting in on Manhattan real estate.

Alexander Spatari/Getty Images

  • Manhattan apartment sales broke a 30-year record in the fourth quarter, per a Miller Samuel and Douglas Elliman report.
  • The rental market also saw a record-breaking year, with a new high in net median rent increases.
  • Even in the face of Delta and Omicron, New York City real estate has made a comeback.

Manhattan real estate ended the year on a high note.

Apartment sales broke a 30-year record in the fourth quarter of 2021 with 3,559 closed purchases of co-ops and condos, according to a new report by Miller Samuel Inc. and Douglas Elliman Real Estate. Such property sales have only exceeded 3,000 one other time —in 2013 — since the appraiser and brokerage firm began tracking this data in 1989.

The median price of the apartments sold in the fourth quarter was $1.17 million, with 9.2% of sales above asking price — the highest since early 2018.

“For the next several quarters, we’re going to see above average sales activity and that is going to go a long way to bring down inventory levels,” Jonathan Miller, president of Miller Samuel, told Bloomberg. “One of the things that has differentiated the Manhattan market with the rest of the country has been that it was late to the party, and the city’s boom in activity really started at the beginning of 2021.”

After plunging during the pandemic, New York City’s real estate market made its comeback in 2021 as residents came trickling back during the winter to take advantage of discounted apartments. The number of sales in Manhattan increased by 28.7% from the last three months of 2020 to the first three of 2021, according to a Douglas Elliman report, driven by overseas buyers and young professionals looking to buy for the first time. 

But the market really started to soar come spring when the city reopened. Properties in Brooklyn began to bounce back first, followed by a rebound in Manhattan.

“Since April, I don’t think we’ve ever done this many transactions in such a tight period of time,” Jeff Adler, a broker with Douglas Elliman, told The Financial Times in September.

The rental market, too, has seen a record-breaking year. A separate report from Douglas Elliman and Miller Samuel found that the net median rent in Manhattan increased by a record-breaking 22.8% in November 2021 year-over-year. That meant that the typical monthly rent, including any pandemic discounts, hit $3,369 in Manhattan November 2021. 

Doorman buildings in particular became more expensive than they were pre-pandemic. A doorman unit will now run you $4,108 in median rent, according to the report — a record increase of 27.2% from last year and 2.3% higher than 2019. 

The continued Manhattan real estate boom in the face of the Delta and Omicron coronavirus waves says a lot about the city’s recovery since it served as the epicenter of the coronavirus in March 2020. Despite fears that the seeming exodus of the wealthy nearly two years ago would tank the future of the city, they’ve been contributing to the city’s economic revival.

It also points to the never-ending allure of NYC. Even during a pandemic, people can’t get enough of the city that never sleeps.

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