The sun is out, the trees are blooming, and the air feels (mostly) nice, which means that home-shopping season in NYC has begun. Yes, home-shopping season is a thing: It’s a roughly three-month period during spring in which sellers put their properties on the market, giving eager buyers maximum inventory to choose from. (There’s another, shorter buying season in the fall.)

There’s a lot to know about buying a home in NYC. If you’re getting ready to make the big move, here are 8 things you need to know.

1. Buyers have the advantage. Inventory is high, and sales prices across NYC are wobbly or declining. You’ve got leverage, so use it.

Buyers have the advantage

2. In some parts of NYC, homes are selling for far below their asking prices; in other places, they’re selling above. Be aware of the trend in the neighborhoods where you’re looking.

share of sales closed above initial asking price

3. More than half the homes that hit the market during last year’s shopping season did not actually sell — they were just taken off the market.

Spring 2018 Listing stats


4. The “mansion tax” is still in place for purchases over $1 million, but was specifically raised for properties over $2 million. Those who buy under $999,999 do not pay a mansion tax.

NYC Mansion Tax chart for 2019

5. For sellers, the rates for NYC transfer taxes remain the same, but NY State transfer taxes have been raised for purchases over $3 million.

transfer taxes table

6. Closing costs for co-ops are much lower than closing costs for condos. Consider co-ops to save money.

Co-op total closing costsCondo total closing costs

7. Inventory in certain Manhattan neighborhoods, including the Lower East Side, is skyrocketing. Here are 5 neighborhoods where sales inventory is up more than 20% annually.

NeighborhoodPercent Increase in InventoryMedian Asking Price
Inwood23%$399,900 (down 11%)
Lower East Side45%$1.58 million (down 2%)
Battery Park City24%$1.4 million (down .3%)
Gramercy Park29%$1.524 million (down 4%)
Morningside Heights31%$725K (down 2%)


8. Buyers are in the driver’s seat, and there are many ways to negotiate — from sales price to finishes to closing costs.

Buyers negotiating finishes

Manhattan Sales Under $2 Million Article continues below

Got an interesting NYC real estate story or a hot tip? Send it to us at (You will remain anonymous.) And hey, why not like StreetEasy on Facebook and follow @streeteasy on Instagram?