The number of for-sale homes going into contract in three boroughs of New York City spiked in April, particularly in Manhattan, an indicator that StreetEasy said demonstrates that the market may be strengthening. Pending sales in Manhattan increased 26.6% from last year, reaching their highest levels since the spring of 2015.

Manhattan's Upper West Side. (Photo by W.F. Gloede for BUILDER)
Manhattan's Upper West Side. (Photo by W.F. Gloede for BUILDER)

While more homes went into contract, less inventory hit the market. There were 9.6% fewer homes listed for sale in Manhattan this April compared to last year, and total sales inventory available in the borough grew at the slowest pace in a year. In Brooklyn and Queens, inventory growth slowed significantly from the highs we saw in March. New inventory increased by 2.2% in Brooklyn and 13.4% in Queens in April compared to an increase of 31.6% and 26.3% respectively in March.

Price growth remained weak across Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens. The StreetEasy Manhattan Price Index fell to $1,105,595 — down 5.2% from last year and the largest drop since the financial crisis. Prices in Brooklyn were also down 0.4% from last April, dropping to $706,582. In Queens, prices continued to grow, but at the slowest pace since 2016 — up 2.4% to $516,739.

"While many sellers are still struggling to attract a buyer, April brought some good news to those who have feared a continued slide in the sales market," said StreetEasy Senior Economist Grant Long. "Early signs tell us that some sellers are finally pricing their homes more realistically and finding buyers when they do so. Those still struggling to find the right buyer should take this as a sign to revisit their pricing expectations. Buyers are out there, but with most of the bargaining power in their hands, they're going to continue to hold out for more reasonable prices."

April 2019 Key Findings — Manhattan

  • The most homes went into contract since 2015. The number of pending sales in Manhattan increased 26.6% from last year, up by more than 250. The number of homes entering contract in Upper Manhattan doubled year over year, from 66 to 132.
  • Inventory growth slowed. While sales inventory growth remained in the double digits at 10.8%, it still moved at the slowest pace in 13 months. The volume of new inventory hitting the market shrank by 9.6% over last year.
  • Prices continued to drop. The StreetEasy Manhattan Price Index fell 5.2% from last April — down by $60,096 to $1,105,595, the lowest level since May 2015.
  • As sellers priced homes more strategically from the start, fewer made price cuts. The share of homes with a price cut fell slightly for the first time in 13 months. Some 14.1% of Manhattan homes saw a price decrease in April — down 0.6 percentage points from last year. The share of price cuts fell the most in the Upper West Sideiv — down 2.1 percentage points to 14.2%.
  • Luxury home inventory dropped slightly. The number of homes for sale priced within the top 20% of the market fell by 0.3%, the first year-over-year decrease in inventory since February 2018.

April 2019 Key Findings — Brooklyn

  • Pending sales rose the most in the city. Of the boroughs analyzed, the number of homes entering contract grew the most in Brooklyn — up 30% from last April.
  • The pace of inventory growth slowed. In April, 2.2% more homes were added to the market than the same time last year, pushing for-sale inventory in Brooklyn to a new high.
  • Brooklyn prices stagnated overall, and dropped significantly in North Brooklyn. The StreetEasy Brooklyn Price Index fell just 0.4% since last year to $706,582. In North Brooklyn, the borough's most expensive submarket, prices fell at the fastest pace since 2011 — dropping 2.0% to $1,120,548.
  • The share of price cuts rose slightly. Borough wide, 11.6% of homes for sale were discounted — up 1.5 percentage points from last year. All five submarkets in the borough had an increased share of price cuts, though North Brooklyn saw the most, with its share of discounts increasing by 1.8 percentage points to 11.7%.
  • Homes spent more time on the market. Brooklyn homes for sale spent a median of 60 days on the market in April — up 11 days from last year. Homes in South Brooklyn came off the market three days faster than this time last year, to a median of 65 days on the market.

April 2019 Key Findings — Queens

  • More homes entered contract than last year. Following a similar trend to the rest of the city, Queens saw 10% more pending sales than last April. In Northwest Queens, 4.1% more homes entered contract over last year, but the submarket experienced a significant drop from the month prior, with 100 more pending sales in March than in April.
  • Sales inventory growth slowed. While total inventory rose by 21.1% in the borough, it was the smallest increase since last summer. New inventory added to the Queens sales market in April was up by 13.4% year-over-year.
  • Prices grew, but at the slowest rate in two years. The StreetEasy Queens Price Index reached $516,739 — up 2.4% from last year. Price growth in the borough showed signs of slowing from the higher rates seen since 2016, including the peak growth rate of 7.3% which occurred in June 2018.
  • Price cuts rose slightly. The share of price cuts in Queens was the smallest out of the boroughs analyzed at 9.9%, up 1.3 percentage points from last year. Northwest Queens saw a decrease in the share of price cuts — down 2.6 percentage points to 12.4%
  • Homes spent more time on the market. Homes in Queens spent a median of 57 days on the market — an increase of 9 days from last year, but the shortest period of the boroughs analyzed.