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By Scotty Elyanow

It would be an understatement to say that real estate in 2020 has been quite a challenge. While people here and across the country were writing the obituary for NYC, we New Yorkers who have stayed did what we could to prop up our local businesses, be good neighbors, and simply live in our great city. As a real estate broker for 18 years, specifically working in the West Village, I have seen the ups and downs of the market, particularly in 2008-2009 with the Great Recession. During that time we had a period of many months where activity ground to a halt. Banks weren’t lending and the economy was in crisis. Prices did drop precipitously, and the market remained a struggle for sellers until the economy started to turn the corner in 2011.

The current pandemic has been incredibly challenging for the real estate market across the city, including the often insulated West Village. Unlike 12 or 13 years ago, banks are still lending, although in Manhattan many of the requirements from major lenders have tightened with increased down payment requirements from 20-25% (and sometimes 30%) down. This appears to be a short-term situation as the market has started showing some signs of bouncing back. In typical months before the pandemic, back in 2019, the average amount of closed sales in the West Village would average between 35-50 transactions per month. During 2020 from March to November we averaged around 23 transactions per month. Then December 2020 happened. 50 closed sales in December showed that we are in the midst of a comeback of sorts and with January 2021 looking bright with 41 properties put into contract, the feeling of positivity is justified. If we look at the Q4 sales data across Manhattan the sales percentage of the original asking price were on average around 9% down and volume down 17% over Q4 2019. In the over $2m market and especially at the higher end, the slowdown has been very apparent and the prices have gone down considerably (over 10-20%). The biggest discounts are in new developments across the city.

On the rental side, the numbers have been a challenge. 20-30% reductions have been the norm but the influx of new people has been promising since December, and I believe we have turned that corner.

We have been through a challenging time but I am so excited for the city. I have connected with so many neighbors in the West Village, many of whom I would not have if it were not for this pandemic. Small business has been struggling and I am empowered to help and support wherever I can and I have seen many neighbors come out to support as well. There will be more closures but we will also see a resurgence, and come spring our neighborhood will rebound again. I genuinely smell hope in the air. I love it here.

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