There is nothing like ending the year on a bit of a high note and Manhattan showed an 8% increase in contracts signed year over year, and a 43% increase from the previous quarter. Buyers returned to the marketplace, as pent-up demand, low interest rates and abundant selection drove the market demand back to pre-Covid levels. In Fourth Quarter 2020, over 90% of closings were for deals inked since March, which provided not only a clearer picture of price trends but also revealed shifts in buyer preferences driven by the pandemic. In 4Q 2020, buyers closed on larger apartments, and were seeking value. They prioritized space and layout, over building and location, which drove median price up about 4% to $1.044M but pulled average price per square foot down 8% to a four-and-a-half year low of $1,615.
For sellers, prices fell, and competition was fierce with record inventory on the market of 9964 available Manhattan properties. Deal activity increased significantly in the Fourth Quarter of 2020, seen in both the annual gain in signed contracts and quarterly growth in closings. Contracts signed are the timeliest indicator of current demand, and it rose year-over-year each month this quarter. Closings, although down 30% year-over-year as a result of the spring pause in the market, grew 18% from last quarter to about 1,900 sales, bringing the 2020 total to about 7,600 transactions.