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NYC House Hunters Want to Spend $600K or Less on an Apartment, Data Shows

By Amy Zimmer | February 3, 2017 8:19am
 A rendering of a living room at Greenpoint's new condo, 50 Greenpoint., where units will range from $699,999 for one-bedrooms to $1.55 million for three-bedrooms.
A rendering of a living room at Greenpoint's new condo, 50 Greenpoint., where units will range from $699,999 for one-bedrooms to $1.55 million for three-bedrooms.
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Halstead Property Development Marketing

When it comes to how much most New Yorkers want to spend on housing, step aside "Million Dollar Listing."

More than 50 percent of online searches in 2016 were for homes under $1 million, according to real estate listings giant Streeteasy which compiled data for DNAinfo New York.

The sweet spot for conducting virtual searches seemed to be in the $400,000 to $600,000-range, with 13.7 percent of users browsing for homes in that bracket, followed closely by the $600,000 to $800,000-range, with 13.3 percent of users.

Roughly 12.3 percent of users browsed homes priced between $800,000 to $1 million, Streeteasy found.

Looking at the borough-level, in both Manhattan and Queens the most competitive prices when it came to searches were between $200,000 and $400,000 and between $400,000 and $600,000.

Brooklyn searches were also clustered around $400,000 to $600,000.

There was not enough data in The Bronx or Staten Island to draw a clear conclusion, according to Streeteasy.

“New Yorkers are actively searching for homes that fit their budget and their lifestyle,” Streeteasy data scientist Krishna Rao said.

“As we’ve seen over the past few quarters, there is less demand for high-priced luxury units and increasing competition for homes at the bottom of the market.”

In Manhattan, while the median price — representing the mid-point of the market — was $967,000 in the fourth quarter of 2016, citywide it was much lower, according to a recent report from the Real Estate Board of New York.

In Brooklyn, the median was $695,000. The median price in Queens was $469,000. In Staten Island, the median was $457,000, and in The Bronx it was $390,000.

Citywide, the median was $575,000 in the fourth quarter, representing a six percent increase over the year and signaling that the demand for homes in the city is certainly not only at the upper end of the market, according to the REBNY report.

The median household income across the city is about $50,711, according to Census data tracked by WNYC.

“If you’re a buyer looking within the $200,000 to $600,000 price range where supply is particularly tight, you should be prepared to act quickly to seal the deal when you find the home that meets your budget,” Rao suggested.

Bidding wars may be a thing of the past for pricier homes, but these lower price points remain hyper-competitive.

“Buyers searching within this price range in up-and-coming neighborhoods should anticipate the possibility of having to pay the full asking price and should definitely arrive to open houses with their checkbook in hand and finances in order," Rao said.

Stephen Kliegerman, president of Halstead Property Development Marketing, pointed to swanky new buildings his firm is working on in Brooklyn, like Greenpoint’s 50 Greenpoint, and in Upper Manhattan, including Harlem’s Aurum on Adam Clayton Powell Blvd. and the Style on East 131st Street, that have units for under $1 million.

“There’s been inventory built to be under $1 million, which you didn’t have two years ago,” he said. “We’re definitely seeing a high amount of activity at those price points.”

As interest rates start to inch up, he's seen a surge of renters who have been saving up to buy hunting for homes under $1 million.

“People at those price points are a little more sensitive to rate changes,” he said.

“Even half a point makes a difference when you’re straddling the line of whether you’re able to afford something or not.”

At the same time, however, the listings receiving the highest numbers of contacts through Streeteasy — where house hunters actually reached out to listings brokers — were in the $1 million and $1.2 million range, according to the search engine's analysis.

It indicates that homebuyers looking in this price range were perhaps the most motivated buyers, Rao said.

“People eyeing these listings are not just window-shopping,” he said.

“They likely have a down-payment saved and know their budget. When they see a listing within their price range, these buyers are ready to move quickly and speak to an agent about seeing the property.”

He added, “It may sound crazy, but homes in this price range are relatively affordable for New York City, and serious buyers know a valuable investment when they see one.”