Manhattan real estate posted its best year ever in 2021, rebounding from the pandemic with $30 billion in sales and over 16,000 signed contracts.
Last year marks a dramatic turnaround from 2020 when fears of population losses weighed on sales.
But sales have now eclipsed pre-pandemic totals, and are showing no signs of slowing in 2022. Fourth-quarter sales topped $6.7 billion, a mark not seen since such records were kept.
The average price for an apartment in Manhattan is now $1.95 million. The median price — which many consider to be a more accurate indicator of the market — jumped 11% in the fourth quarter compared to the year-earlier period, close to pre-pandemic levels.
Based on reducing inventory and continually strong financial markets, the Manhattan market is likely to remain robust into the first half of this year. Because New York was late to the party with the return of real estate demand, there could be several quarters ahead with elevated or higher-than-normal activity.
The comeback has largely been driven by the top of the market — such as ultra-wealthy buyers snapping up penthouses and large full-floor units in new developments. Inventory of new property plummeted by a third in the fourth quarter, and apartments priced at $10 million or more sold the fastest — averaging just 97 days on the market.
There were at least eight sales last year for more than $50 million. Alibaba co-founder Joe Tsai’s purchase of two full floors at 220 Central Park South for $157 million was the largest. That address — home to hedge fund billionaire Ken Griffin’s $238 million penthouse, the most expensive ever sold in the U.S. — accounted for three of the eight $50 million-plus deals in 2021.
Jeff Bezos continued to snap up apartments at 212 Fifth Ave., with purchases totalling $119 million for five apartments.
Many buyers are non-residents looking for a pied-a-terre or an investment property. With riches created during the pandemic from gains in stocks, asset values and cryptocurrency, many individuals are looking to shift their wealth into hard assets like real estate.