Bid-Ask Spread Six-Month Report

Posted November 6th, 2017 by Richard Pretsfelder, Sophie Smadbeck

Since June of this year, I’ve been tracking and recording the bid-ask spread for Upper West Side townhouses. The bid-ask spread represents the percentage difference between the current average list price and average sales price. To collect the data, I calculated the mean of every townhouse sale recorded to date in 2017 on the Upper West Side, as well as the average ask price for townhouses currently on the market on the Upper West Side. The percentage difference between the two averages represents the spread.

Entering the summer of 2017, the bid-ask spread was steadily increasing, as evidenced by the graph above. The spread increased nearly 8% from June to October, which was indicative of a typical summer slowdown. While average asking prices hovered around the same level as they had been throughout the year, fewer sales were occurring, particularly high end 8-figure sales, which gradually increased the spread.

The bid-ask spread this month reflects the end of summer market uptick with a 4% decrease in spread from the beginning of October to the beginning of November. This is partially due to recent price drops and mid-level additions to the market, but it also reflects recent sales, which increased the average sales price for 2017.

The average 2017 sales price is expected to continue to increase as we near the end of the year. Three of the five properties currently under contract are single-family townhouses, one of which, 39 West 70th Street, has an asking price of $17.9 million. Anecdotally, there are at least two other accepted eight-figure offers which may also be entering the contract stage.

As 2018 approaches, I expect to see a continued decrease in the bid-ask spread, reflecting an overall positive outlook for the Upper West Side townhouse market.