When Aida Sukys, chief financial officer of Justworks, realized she needed to be in the office in Manhattan’s Financial District a couple of days each week, she decided to buy a pied-à-terre at Jolie, a new condo within walking distance of her office.
“I couldn’t find a rental I liked, so in September 2021 I bought a one-bedroom condo,” said Ms. Sukys, 60. “We own a house in Chevy Chase, Maryland, and one in the Outer Banks in North Carolina, so I thought this would be all we need. My husband and I are already planning to upsize to at least a two-bedroom in the building because we want to entertain here, and we’ve found that our family and friends want to visit us here.”
Ms. Sukys is far from alone in wanting more of Manhattan. Contracts for three-bedroom or larger units continue to be well above their pre-pandemic rates, according to UrbanDigs, a data analysis firm. Before the pandemic, there were typically about 150 or fewer contracts for units with three bedrooms or more per month. In April, there were 281 contracts signed for units that size and there were between 243 and 321 for each of the previous months in 2022. In addition, according to John Walkup, co-founder of UrbanDigs, three- and four-bedroom units have seen the greatest uplift in signed contracts since the pandemic, with three-bedroom activity leading all other sizes since the market recovery began in June 2020.
It’s not just about more bedrooms, either. The median size of resale condos has been consistently increasing since 2016, when the median condo had 956 square feet, according to UrbanDigs. By the close of 2021, the median sold condo size was 1,123 square feet, an increase of 16% compared to 2016 and up 5% compared to 2019.
Lingering Pandemic Desire for More Space
The initial pandemic lockdown was a shock to everyone that made them hyper-aware of the space they need, said Diana Sutherlin, a real estate agent with Compass who specializes in waterfront properties in Jersey City, New Jersey, which is a short train ride from Manhattan.
“Now I find that no one can imagine downsizing, even when they want to live in an urban area,” Ms. Sutherlin said.
Multiple buyers have opted to upsize from a one-bedroom to a two-bedroom unit or from a three-bedroom to a four-bedroom unit at One United Nations Park in Manhattan, said Melanie Estrada, sales director for the condo building.
“Buyers found that their needs changed during the pandemic, and they want larger layouts even if they keep the same number of bedrooms,” Ms. Estrada said. “People want a second bedroom with a door to close to use as an office or to take a conference call. They also want space, light and air from multiple directions.”
The desire for more flexible space continues to drive buyers to purchase larger units even if they’re going back to an office, according to Ms. Estrada. One-bedroom units start at $1.5 million, and to upgrade to a two-bedroom space costs $2.35 million or more. Four-bedroom duplex units with a den, 20-foot-high ceilings and more than 3,800 square feet of living space have been the most popular units, despite their price tag of $6.45 million or more.
“New Yorkers used to think of their homes as just a place to sleep, but once the pandemic hit, they started using them as a place to do everything including entertaining their friends,” said Heather Wyse, sales director of Front & York, a condo building in Brooklyn’s Dumbo neighborhood. “Pretty much across the board we’ve seen buyers come in thinking they’ll buy a one-bedroom condo and then upgrade to a two-bedroom. Buyers are also upgrading from two bedrooms to three and even from three to four bedrooms.”
One of the main drivers of wanting more space continues to be the flexibility around working from home.
“Buyers want an office space they can close off and sometimes they need two offices,” Ms. Wyse said. “One couple bought a two-bedroom penthouse before construction began and then decided to buy the adjacent one-bedroom unit to add a home office and create a great room for entertaining.”
Article Source: Mansion Global