It has been a hell of a year, for tenants, buyers, sellers and even onlookers.
The ripple effects of COVID-19 have turned New York’s housing market into a swing: empty neighborhoods and plummeting rents at the start of the year, to today’s record sales figures and to monthly radioactive demands, as workers and families return to the city.
During all this time, no one told the super-rich that there was a pandemic.
A booming stock and crypto market has helped them set price record after price record throughout the year, as they gobbled up huge homes, from Lower Manhattan to Billionaire’s Row and Brooklyn to the Hamptons.
Here’s a look at some insane real estate records and the crazy trends they’ve set, in New York’s craziest year yet.
Roller coaster records
January is hard to remember these days. But, if you remember, Manhattan was still a ghost town at the start of the year.
Those with the cash bought secondary housing markets faster than changing COVID protocols. The young adults have moved into their teenage rooms. Those who stayed in the city cashed in on discounted units.
In the first quarter of this year, rents fell to $ 2,700 per month, the lowest for a decade, the borough’s cheapest housing price on record since StreetEasy, which shared a year of data with The Post, started counting in 2010.
No more lemon juice for the sore: Rents of $ 2,700 per month represent a drop of over $ 700 year-over-year from the days just before the pandemic hit us hard in 2020.
Devastation was tamed in beautiful Brooklyn.
Median rents there fell 10% year over year to $ 2,390, its lowest level since 2011.
Queens saw its prices drop to $ 1,999, the first time they had dropped below $ 2,000 in eight years.
But the deals – and the landlord’s juicy concessions, including months of free rent – didn’t last.
Prices have gone parabolic as tenants eager to deal have unleashed a tsunami of lease signatures.
“The surge in new lease signatures began when rents fell enough to spark the interest of fringe people, whose prices were out of town,” said real estate appraiser and analyst Jonathan Miller, who has found that 6,255 new leases were signed in Manhattan in 2021, up from 3,969 a year earlier, an increase of nearly 58%.
By November, the median asking rent in Manhattan had fallen to $ 3,475, just $ 25 below its pre-pandemic high of $ 3,500.
At the same time, more Manhattan apartments have sold than at any time in the past three decades with 4,523 closed sales, according to Douglas Elliman, while Corcoran reported sales topped 9, $ 5 billion, the highest of any quarter so far.
“I’ve always maintained that New York is the comeback queen,” Brown Harris Stevens CEO Bess Freedman told The Post in July. “It has bounced back from the September 11, Lehman crash and is starting again from COVID.”
Overall, the 2021 sales market saw the highest prices in over 32 years, according to the December Olshan report, with the borough-wide median asking price hitting $ 1.45 million , an increase of 11% compared to November 2020.
In November alone, 422 homes priced over $ 3.85 million were contracted – the first time there had been more than 400 luxury sales in Manhattan in one months, according to StreetEasy.
In Brooklyn, a $ 7.9 million penthouse sale in River Park set a new record for Cobble Hill in October, an 1880s $ 6.5 million townhouse at 198 Washington Park became the Fort Greene’s most expensive deal in January, while a combined $ 16 million front & York sale to Front & York broke records in Dumbo in November.
“A new generation of buyers have come from Manhattan, who had never considered Brooklyn before – and there was no sticker shock,” said Doug Bowen of Douglas Elliman.
In Queens, a sales record was set in Astoria in February when a two-bedroom penthouse at Rowan sold for $ 1.69 million.
These record breaking deals, however, are pebbles compared to the mountainous mansion sales Manhattan saw during the 2021 Yo-Yo Market.
In August, a mystery shopper deposited $ 50 million on a penthouse at 56 Leonard Street, a 60-story glass skyscraper designed by Herzog & de Meuron in Tribeca known as the “Jenga Building.” It was the most expensive downtown penthouse sale of the year, narrowly beating the $ 49.5 million sale of the 443 Greenwich penthouse by F1 racing driver Lewis Hamilton and the sale $ 49 million penthouse at 421 Broome St. (the building where actor Heath Ledger tragically overdosed in 2008).
Downtown, 25 Park Row broke the Financial District record for the most expensive penthouse with a $ 25 million deal.
In Greenwich Village, industry titans – including Chipotle founder Steve Ells, Facebook co-founder Sean Parker, Mets owner Steve Cohen and BlackRock CEO Larry Fink. – spent the year combining individual townhouses worth tens of millions into megamans worth so much more.
“With New York City returning from the pandemic, shoppers are moving downtown because they want to be immersed in a vibrant life with great restaurants around them and lots of people,” said Brett Miles, Compass agent.
But it’s the billionaires moving blocks north that dominate the market.
Jeff Bezos – who made unfathomable sums this year as Americans had their lives delivered through Amazon – increased his attendance at 212 Fifth Ave. at Nomad to $ 119 million of condos that are a palace-sized gap atop the historic tower.
Meanwhile, on Billionaire’s Row, Alibaba billionaire and Brooklyn Nets owner Joe Tsai won a $ 157 million sky palace at 220 Central Park South in July – the biggest residential sale of the year.
The intoxicating Hamptons
In the East, records were pouring in like rosé.
The median home price in the Hamptons was already $ 1.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2020 – the highest on record and a 55% increase from 2019. But that figure has nearly doubled to 2.4 million. dollars by the summer months of 2021, according to Douglas Elliman data.
“People are obviously looking to sell for the highest price possible, and I think the timing in 2021… is great for everyone,” Mark J. Baron, a broker at Saunders told The Post. “That’s why you see the number of deals we get. “
The housing crisis – Westhampton’s rental and sales inventory in Montauk has essentially evaporated this year – has led to a bulldozing windfall, with more modest breakouts to the countryside giving way to ostentatious mega-estates .
One of the Hamptons’ biggest deals in 2021 was the off-market sale of Calvin Klein for $ 85 million of an 8.5-acre estate in East Hampton in August.
He initially bought the property in 1987 for a meager $ 3.6 million. (This follows Klein’s off-market sale of his 7-acre Southampton property at 650 Meadow Lane for $ 84 million to billionaire hedge-funder Ken Griffin in March 2020.)
But nothing exceeded the $ 145 million Southampton deal when a 42-acre complex at 90 Jule Pond was signed in March, making it the most expensive single-family home sale in Canadian history. Hamptons.
How long will the erratic ridicule of real estate last? Will Omicron take us back to the early days of the pandemic and empty Manhattan?
Who the hell knows? All we can promise is that the journey is not over yet.
So give us your best “Auld Lang Syne” and buckle up for some weirder-than-fiction real estate shenanigans in 2022.