What’s happened to the townhouse market?

Published On: April 20th, 2020|Categories: Markets|By |

Sales declined overall yet motivated buyers at the high end helped drive the median price to a record high. Get your 2019 Manhattan Townhouse Report here.

There is no data that provides an insight into how the current state of affairs during Covid has affected real estate yet. Non-liquid assets like a townhouse do not react to market forces in the same way as equities or bonds, and you can’t self-quarantine in a stock certificate. I personally think that Real Estate will recover from COVID-19 in a similar way to how we recovered quickly after the disruption to markets after 9/11. The smoke will clear. As we come outside again, maybe we will all have even more appreciation for having a home that we love with room to grow and a backyard.

The Manhattan townhouse market has been in flux since it’s peak in 2013. Townhouses today compete for buyers’ attention with turnkey properties in new developments as alternatives at luxury price points. There’s competition too from Brooklyn Townhouses that are seen as offering more bang for the buck. Especially as neighborhoods like #BrooklynHeights, #ParkSlope, and #FortGreene have gained upmarket caché during those same years. I’m a specialist in single and multi-family, plus mixed-use in Manhattan & Brooklyn, if you ever need advice.

With fewer than 300 sales in any calendar year, Manhattan townhouses represent one of the most fascinating niche segments of Manhattan’s residential real estate market. Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions or would like to know what your townhouse is worth today. You can request a free market price analysis here.


Overall annual sales declined 8%, but increased transfer taxes and rent law changes that went into effect six months into the year brought on new headwinds. Notably, the portion of sales over $20M reached a record high of 6%. This year there was a record closing on the Upper East Side for $77M, surpassing the previous record of a $53M sale in the same neighborhood set in 2006.

  • Sales of single-family townhouses increased while sales of multi-family townhouses declined in 2019: Increased single-family sales activity this year versus last year was due to five additional sales, 6% more than last year – and multi-family townhouse closings declined 21% versus last year to just 72 sales, the lowest figure since 2009.
  • Downtown claimed its highest portion of buyers in over ten years, capturing 34% market share, but the East Side, which captured 28% of sales, had a larger expansion versus last year.
Manhattan Market Report 4Q 2020
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