We’re deep into the dog days of summer here in New York City, and the home-shopping season is as competitive as ever. Across the city, prices are rising and inventory is falling, the classic recipe for stiff competition and stressed-out buyers. According to StreetEasy’s latest quarterly market report, prices are up 1.2 percent in Manhattan and 5.6 percent in Brooklyn.
Despite the tough conditions, buyers have one great reason to remain in the game: price cuts are becoming more common. The increase in discounted listings suggests that sellers are going out too bullish, and that the patient buyer could win leverage over time. This is especially true in highly sought-after, highly expensive neighborhoods in Downtown Manhattan, the Upper East Side, and waterfront Brooklyn. Here, we’ve rounded up five neighborhoods seeing large price cuts right now.
1. Columbia Street Waterfront District
- Median asking price: $1,524,999
- Share of listings with price cuts: 70 percent
The Columbia Street Waterfront District is among one of Brooklyn’s more expensive neighborhoods, with a median asking price 64 percent above the borough-wide median asking price of $929,000. Although geographically isolated by the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway and far from public transportation, the small coastal Brooklyn neighborhood has grown rapidly in popularity and price over the past several years. According to a 2014 StreetEasy report, the five-year price growth in the Columbia Street Waterfront District outpaced Manhattan by over 40 percent, a pace of growth second only DUMBO, Brooklyn’s most expensive neighborhood.
Despite the increasing prices and competitive environment, this quarter, the neighborhood saw 70 percent of its listings get price cuts, suggesting an advantage for potential buyers. It must be noted that inventory is low in the neighborhood, but what’s there is worth considering.
Our Price-Cut Pick: A $599K 1-Bedroom Condo, Discounted $26K
- Pros: Great condition; nice light, top-floor unit; washer and dryer in-unit.
- Cons: Small kitchen; half a mile to nearest subway.
2. Battery Park City
- Median asking price: $1,497,000
- Share of listings with price cuts: 59 percent
Battery Park City’s median asking price is about even with that of Manhattan at large, which clocked in this quarter at $1.489M. Its convenient location, strong schools and access to park space, however, make BPC highly coveted by families in Manhattan. As such, it’s high up there in price, and often inaccessible for New Yorkers looking for value. Despite its enduring appeal, this quarter BPC saw 59 percent of its listings get price discounts. Unlike the Columbia Street Waterfront District, BPC offers a lot of inventory, presenting buyers with a range of options from studios to multibedroom family homes.
Our Price-Cut Pick: A $648K 1-Bedroom Condo, Discount $30K
- Pros: Recent renovation; large bedroom; lots of storage space; great location; rooftop access; building amenities include a gym and laundry rooms on every other floor.
- Cons: The kitchen is tiny; there are only two windows and they don’t have great views; the fees are high at $1,089 in common charges and $789 in monthly taxes.
- Median asking price: $1,890,000
- Share of listings with price cuts: 51.7 percent
Another favorite Manhattan neighborhood, Chelsea usually commands peak prices and sees its properties snapped up quickly. This quarter is no exception. with median asking prices in Chelsea holding strong — well above the borough-wide median asking price, as well as the Downtown Manhattan submarket median asking price of $1,877,500. Buyers who’ve been dreaming of a Chelsea address and the prestige it brings should be relieved to know that this quarter, more than half of the neighborhood’s listings received discounts.
- Pros: Floor-through apartment in a classic Chelsea townhouse; marble mantlepiece; recently renovated; two bathrooms; lots of storage; central location on a lovely block.
- Cons: Second bedroom is small; maintenance fees are high at $1,303/month; no washer and dryer in the unit or building.
- Median asking price: $1,875,000
- Share of listings with price cuts: 54.4 percent
Midtown is chock-a-block with luxury buildings and multi-million-dollar listings, many which are prohibitively expensive. This quarter, however, the neighborhood has seen 54 percent of its listings get discounts, suggesting perhaps that the neighborhood’s $1,875,000 median asking price is a bit too high. Does that mean Midtown is positioned to become the next bargain basement? Probably not. But the neighborhood has tons of inventory, much of which has been discounted.
Our Price-Cut Pick: A $1.195M 2-Bedroom Co-op, Discount $55K
- Pros: Two bathrooms; large floor plan offering 1,185-square feet; separate living and dining rooms; master bedroom with a walk-in-closet; central Midtown location directly across from the Museum of Modern Art; doorman building.
- Cons: Apartment has a dated look; bathrooms need updating; kitchen is cramped; no washer and dryer in the unit; monthly maintenance fees are high at $2,800.
5. Lenox Hill
- Median asking price: $1,990,000
- Share of listings with price cuts: 55.6 percent
Lenox Hill is historically one of Manhattan’s most upper-crust neighborhoods, dense with doorman buildings, high-end antique shops, private prep schools and a heavy dose of old-school New York elitism. Its real estate rounds out the picture, typically commanding some of the highest prices in the city. This quarter, Lenox Hill maintains a customarily lofty median asking price of $1.99 million, exceeding that of the borough at large. Still, there’s hope for aspiring Lenox Hill address-holders in the large number of discounts — some 55 percent of all listings.
Our Price-Cut Pick: A $460K 2-Bedroom Co-op, Discount: $15K
- Pros: The price; good layout with bedrooms on either side of the apartment; recently renovated; good storage with a walk-in-closet; the master bedroom gets great light; doorman building; roof deck access; laundry in building; good location near public transportation.
- Cons: The second bedroom is very small; monthly maintenance fees are very high at $4,354.