Townhouse Prices Remain High Despite Downturn in Sales Volume

Posted April 25th, 2016 by Jed Garfield

Since 2011, average townhouses prices in New York City are up 40% and the average price per square foot has increased by 43%. During the 1st quarter of 2016, price increases slowed, with the average sales price flat and the average price per square foot up 4% over Q1 2015.

Townhouse transactions were down 31%, totaling 101 sales compared to 147 in the same period last year. High prices, stock market volatility, a drop in Wall Street bonuses and an influx of luxury condominiums have contributed to the decline in transactions.

Turning to specific neighborhoods, the Upper East Side showed its strength with total sales of $257m, increasing its already consistent lead as the biggest contributor to sales and bumping up its portion to 30% of all townhouse transactions.

While the West Village and Brooklyn Heights grew 10% this quarter over Q1 2015, the Upper West Side and Chelsea saw prices decline due to a greater percentage of lower priced multi-family sales and some push back from buyers at the high end of the market.

Notable sales during Q1 2016 included 7 East 84th Street for $27.0 million at $3,600/sqft, and 146 Waverly Place for $23.3 million at $3,500/sqft.

The sale of the 84th street mansion is unique due to its sheer scale and magnificence. The 129-year-old, six-story, 13,000-square-foot mansion contains six bedrooms, a wine cellar, eight fireplaces, various imported mantles and its own garage, a feature completely unheard of in the historic district of the Upper East Side. Plus the sale price almost reached asking price.

The Waverly Place property piqued our interest because it is indicative of $20m+ sales with a high price per square foot, signaling continued interest in high-end Village real estate.

Overall, we expect the townhouse market in New York City to remain strong and in line with current conditions for at least the next few quarters.

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