April is typically the most popular month for sellers to list their homes on the New York City market, with 5,095 added in the month last year. This year, however, with NYC an epicenter of the global coronavirus pandemic, only 717 new homes came on the market — an 85% decline from 2019, according to the StreetEasy Market Reports.
As the pandemic hit New York City, many would-be home sellers avoided the market altogether, likely opting to wait for buyer demand to return. The drop of more than 4,300 homes from 2019’s new inventory level also translated to a sharp drop in the share of price cuts being offered by sellers. In Manhattan, only 2.1% of homes for sale had a price cut in April – a drop of 12.2 percentage points from last year, and a record low for the borough.
However, the 2.1% of sellers that were making price cuts in April were determined to make a sale. The median price cut in Manhattan was a record high 5.9% off the asking price, or a median of $100,241. The highest median price cut previously observed in Manhattan was 5.4%, in January 2016.
Driven sellers were also taking steps to make their homes stand out in this uncertain time. In April, 132% more listings included a walkthrough video or a 3D Home tour compared to March, showing that sellers are working to adapt to the stay-at-home order and public health protocols.
“Most New Yorkers who don’t absolutely need to buy or sell right now simply aren’t doing so,” said StreetEasy Economist Nancy Wu. “The massive drop in inventory shows us that the majority of would-be sellers can wait, and are opting to do so to avoid any pressure to make price cuts.”
“Even so, there are still highly motivated sellers on the market right now. Those that bought a new home just prior to the pandemic, or need to move for employment opportunities or growing families, are doing whatever they can to get their existing homes off the market – including offering higher discounts.”