The city’s buyers are in the mood for something a little different this year
Last year, when the real estate market exploded in the suburbs as a result of the pandemic, things looked dark for New York City. But the market is coming around, with suburban buyers selling at high prices to take advantage of the city and its offerings. The city, though, isn’t only drawing buyers from outside of its urban borders. A new phenomenon has emerged of late: buyers are using this real estate moment to check out new neighborhoods that New York has to offer. And last year’s sleepy New York market has become as robust as ever.
Buyers, says Ryan Serhant, Broker and Founder of SERHANT, are prioritizing need differently, and that’s driving them to new and different sections of the city. “Items that buyers did not previously see as a necessity and seemed like a luxury are now a necessity as a result of the pandemic,” he says. One example, he notes, are double-height ceilings, which make spaces feel more expansive. He also says that buyers are “willing to pay a premium for full-service, brand-new, never-lived-in” buildings, where double-height ceilings make for the appearance of a “massive space.”
Outdoor space, too, he says, is compelling buyers to re-root. “Whereas people may not have necessarily needed to be on Central Park, now there is a building called 145 Central Park North, developed by GRID Group, with onsite parking and Central Park at your front door,” he says. Buyers, he said, have visited the building and realized “how extraordinary this type of access is,” and have decided that they need this type of access in their everyday lives.
Although New Yorkers are known for committing to a neighborhood — sometimes for life — Serhant says that things are changing. Buyers are now open to new neighborhoods because they are looking for “more space” or “more value,” or because interest rates, at their near-record low, are “enabling a higher-priced home purchase.” Areas like Central Park North, he says, “were once overlooked for many buyers” but are now more attractive, since an increasing number of people can work from home.
Also driving this neighborhood shift is an “air of optimism,” complemented by the state of the current market, Serhant says. New York real estate is infrequently a bad investment, and buyers are now realizing that the temporary soft spot in the market can produce great value, like a “home directly on Central Park with a private cabana on the rooftop and three bedrooms for under $4 million.”
The resulting market is heating up, in a way that Serhant characterizes as “more emotional than usual.” The pervasive emotion that he’s currently encountering, he says, is “excitement.” “Buyers coming back to New York are thrilled to be back,” he adds. “Many tried the suburbs, and hated it.” No matter which neighborhood calls today’s buyers, one thing is clear: New York’s still got it.