With the recent Brexit vote signaling the UK’s departure from the European Union and the subsequent collapse of the British Pound, there is speculation around what impact this could have on the Manhattan residential real estate market. While the Brexit vote was just two weeks ago, examining what has happened to Chinese cash buyers in Manhattan since the devaluation of Yuan over the summer of 2015 may provide some insight on the long term impact of the decision.
In the twelve months before the Brexit vote, UK residents (not including those that used an LLC with a US address) spent $76.8 million in cash on properties in Manhattan, according to StreetEasy’s analysis of recorded sales and mortgage data via ACRIS. While this is the largest amount going back to 2006, it accounted for only 17 percent of all foreign purchases in Manhattan, up slightly from the 15 percent the year before. Despite the Yuan devaluation of July 2015, cash buyers from China have spent $84.3 million on Manhattan real estate over the past 12 months. The total exceeds the amount spent by residents of the UK for the first time on record, and is up 95 percent from the prior year.
Our data shows that UK residents bought increasingly modest properties in Manhattan over the past twelve months too. The median cash purchase price was $1,387,500, which is down from $1,705,000 the prior year. It is also the second lowest amount since 2006; only 2013 with a median cash purchase price of $1,250,000 was lower. Buyers from China, however, have bought increasingly more expensive properties, with the median cash purchase price reaching $1,873,580 in the past twelve months, which is up 36 percent from the prior year.
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Even before the Brexit vote, UK residents had been spending less and less on properties in Manhattan, but in the aftermath of the vote, they may start to follow the example set by Chinese buyers, who despite their loss of purchasing power, have increasingly sought refuge in the Manhattan real estate market.