The Evolution of NYC Luxury Sales: $1M+ Home Sales in Each Borough, a 15 Year Analysis

By PropertyClub Team
Feb 15th 2019
With year-end reports, that look back at 2018 and compare it to the year that came before, starting to roll in we've decided to make things a little more interesting by taking a look at the evolution of the million dollar sales market across New York City over the past 15 years. We'll highlight how homes priced over $1 million have become the norm in Manhattan, and how this price segment is showing steady growth rates in Brooklyn and Queens.

Key Findings & Market Trends

  • In the early 2000s, $1 million+ property sales were relatively rare, with only 1,753 sales being recorded in 2003 across New York City. By 2017 that number rose to 6,881, with 2018 bringing in similar results
  • In terms of sales volume, while the early 2000s saw less than $3.7 billion generated by transactions in the $1 million+ segment, 2017 shattered all previous records with slightly over $20 billion in transactions
  • 2018 has brought the first slowdown in luxury sales since the 2008 financial crisis. Overall sales volumes for this segment dropped by approximately 12.5% to $17.8 billion. 
  • Out of over 66,500 million dollar homes sold in the past 15 years in New York City, 78% were in Manhattan
  • Brooklyn is now the fastest growing destination for million dollar properties in NYC, with total closed sales volume for the year breaking the $3 billion mark in this segment.

Brooklyn takes the lead as the fastest growing destination for million dollar homes

While the early 2000s paint a picture of a New York luxury real estate scene driven by Manhattan home sales, by 2015 Brooklyn was selling over $2 billion worth of luxury homes.

City-Wide data from 2003 shows a total of just 1,753 sales of properties priced over $1 million recorded. And while that’s for the entire city, spanning over the five boroughs, the number was quickly matched by Brooklyn alone last year with an impressive 1,798 properties sold in 2017.

In less than 15 years Brooklyn went from less than $235 million in recorded closings for properties priced over the $1 million mark to an astounding $3.4 billion in sales volume for this segment in 2017 and there don't seem to be showing any signs of a slow-down with Brooklyn sales once again surpassing the $3 billion mark in 2018.

Queens is now selling more than $1 billion worth of luxury homes each year

While Queens may still lag far behind Brooklyn and Manhattan, homes priced over the $1 million mark have seen increased demand, showing signs of steady growth over the past five years.

2017 brought new records for the borough with an astounding $1.086 billion in sales volume for this segment with sales volumes for 2018 following a similar trend with total sale volume of approximately $1.036 billion in the segment. While this represents a slight drop in volume, of approximately 4.5%, it is also the smallest decrease of all five boroughs signaling the increasing appeal of Queens. 

This represents a dramatic increase from the early 2000s; in 2003 no more than 56 homes were sold in Queens for over $1 million, with a total closed sales volume of a measly $122 million. 

Looking back at $1M+ home sales pre and post-recession

By the late 2000s, as the New York City luxury home market was booming and prices were reaching new heights, million dollar sales were becoming the norm. By 2008 NYC was seeing over 5,500 properties sold each year for amounts above the $1 million mark with accumulated sales numbers surpassing $14.5 billion.

The recession halved these numbers overnight with only 2,983 sales recorded in the following year. Manhattan was hit the hardest, with sales figures dropping drastically from $13.7 billion to just over $7.3 billion in one year.

It wasn’t until 2014 that one million dollar plus sales saw numbers bounce back to pre-recession levels, with all boroughs seeing surges in million-dollar sales. While Brooklyn and Queens show signs of continued growth in this segment, it remains to be seen whether boroughs like the Bronx and Staten Island can sustain the trend as they are both already showing signs of a slowdown.

Overall million dollar sales numbers seem to have taken a hit at the citywide level in 2018 with sales in this segment dropping below their 2017 peak. Citywide, 6,011 sales above the $1M mark were recorded in 2018 representing a total volume of around $17.8 billion, a significant drop in comparison to 2017's record-breaking $20+ billion in recorded sales. While sliding real estate prices can be cited as a factor, with fewer properties closing for that extra figure, this only seems to add to the bigger picture and reinforce the notion that 2018 will mark an end to a near decade-long property boom for luxury NYC real estate.

Methodology: To compile this report we took into account all residential sales priced over $1 million including single-family homes, condos, and co-ops. For historical sales data from 2003-2018, we used information from the NYC Department of Finance. Please note that 2018 numbers are subject to change as final sales information continues to become available.