2021 Manhattan Sales Market Review

By Jonathan Greenspan, February 8, 2022

Selling New York takes on a whole new meaning when looking at residential sales for Manhattan in 2021.  Linecity looked at the end-of-year numbers for the sale of apartments (condos and co-ops) and 2021 stands alone, easily eclipsing previous highs.

The number of sales as well as the total dollar volume of sales more than doubled the 2020 numbers while setting new marks in almost every category of tracked sales.  

Total sales volume for condos and co-ops in Manhattan in 2021 soared past $31.74 billion, a 103% jump from last year’s depressed total of $15.65 billion and more than $4.6 billion more than the previous high mark set in 2016. 

Correspondingly, the number of recorded sales in 2021 climbed to 16,897, a 103% jump from the 2020 total of 8,317.  The previous high mark was 15,803 sales in 2013.   

Sure Covid has played a role in elevating the numbers from 2020 to 2021, but at the same time, the volume of sales and the total dollar volume are off the charts.  

What are the reasons for the surge?  There are many.  Pent-up supply from 2020 when the market virtually shut down for a large portion of the year.  Due to the oversupply, buyers descended upon the market and scored deals; the oversupply naturally pushed down prices.  There was a backlog of signed contracts from 2020 that failed to close due to covid inflicted limitations in the closing process; all of these sales were shifted to 2021.  Interest rates have continued at historic lows.  A surging stock market has created a lot of new wealth, some of which has been re-invested in real estate. And lastly, people have renewed faith in the city and its ability to bounce back – it always has.

Even if we compare the 2021 numbers to 2019, the increase in the number of sales and the jolt in sales volume for Manhattan is staggering.  In 2019 there were 12,006 recorded sales, 41% fewer sales than the 16,897 sales recorded in 2021.  When comparing each of the years over the past decade, the closest year to date was 2013 with 15,803 sales. From 2011 to 2019, Manhattan averaged 13,643 apartment sales per calendar year. 

However, it’s the dollar volume of sales that is a real eye-opener.  Again, if we go back two years to 2019, the 2021 totals far distanced any of the pre-covid years.  The $31.74 billion worth of apartments that were sold in 2021 represented a 31% increase over 2019 when $24.176 billion sold.   Looking at the past decade, the closest year in dollar volume of sales was 2016 when the volume exceeded $27.134 billion. The average volume from 2011 through 2019 was $23.406 billion.

With all the numbers pointing upwards, the actual average price of a Manhattan apartment dropped in value to $1.87 million.  This is slightly down from 2020 and 6.6% less than the $2 million mark set in 2019.  The 2019 totals are a bit skewed due to the number of sponsor sales that closed at 220 Central Park South, the city’s most expensive building.  The median price for an apartment was $1.103 million, about 6.2% higher than the median price for 2020 and slightly less than the record set in 2017.

Let’s now look at condominium sales as its own category.  In 2021, the total value of condo sales sold was $20.219 billion, approximately 64% of the total sales (co-ops and condos) volume.  According to city records, there have been 7,686 condos sold at an average price of $2.63 million.  The average size of a closed condo was 1,408 square feet with an average price per square foot of $1,665.  The number of condos sold represents a 108% increase over the 3,704 condos sold in 2020 and a 102% increase in dollar volume as volume increased from $9.989 billion to a shade above $20 billion.

When comparing 2021 to 2019, the numbers of sales grew from 5,505 to 7,686, an increase of 39.6%.  The sales volume grew by $4.3 billion, an increase of more than 27%.   

Slightly more than 27% of the condo sales in 2021 reflect a new development sale.  In 2021 there were 2,107 new development condos sold compared to the 1,092 sold in 2020, a 93% increase.  The dollar volume of new development condos sold rose from $4.68 billion to $7.33 billion, a 57% increase.  Neither of these numbers for new development sales represents a  record mark, but the 2,107 new development sales represents the second highest total of the decade behind the 2,194 sales in 2016.  The average price of a new development purchase was north of $3.478 million with an average price per square foot of $2,065.  The average size of a new development sale was 1,488 square feet.  

2021 Total Sales Volume2021 Total Dollar Volume

Looking at co-op sales, 2021 has been equally as impressive. The number of total sales in 2021 was 9,211 units, a 100% increase over the 4,598 co-ops sold in 2020.  In 2019 just 6,501 co-op apartments were sold.  While 2021 has not been the busiest year to date, the numbers are close.  In 2013, 9,038 co-ops were sold.  If we look at dollar volume alone, 2021 is in a class by itself with more than $11.525 billion of co-op sales.  This is a 103% increase over the $5,664 billion sold in 2020 and a 39% increase over $8.291 billion sold in 2019.  When comparing these numbers to co-op sales volume over the past decade, it surpasses the closest year, 2015, by $1.1 billion.

The average price of a co-op was a shade greater than $1.250 million.  While the square footage numbers on co-ops are incomplete, we approximate the average size of a sold co-op to be about 1,203 square feet with an average price per square foot to be about $1,033.