New York Suburbs See Condo-Buying Boom as Houses Get Too Pricey

The homebuying boom in New York’s suburbs is spreading to condos.

Demand for single-family houses is still surging as the pandemic sends city-dwellers to the leafier outskirts in search of more space. While competition mounts for a dwindling supply of such properties, pushing prices out of reach, more buyers are taking a second look at apartments.

They’re joined by empty-nesters who sold their suburban spreads and now have the cash in hand to find a smaller place nearby, according to Jonathan Miller, president of appraiser Miller Samuel Inc.

“Affordability is a challenge, and with record prices being set, condo becomes a competitor again,” Miller said in an interview.

Today’s low mortgage rates might have given shoppers an extra push toward condos, a relatively lower-priced choice that’s less likely to require a jumbo loan, Miller said.

In Greenwich, the Connecticut town famous for its mansions favored by Wall Street’s elite, contracts to buy condos more than tripled in November from a year earlier to 25, according to a report Wednesday by Miller Samuel and brokerage Douglas Elliman Real Estate. A majority of those deals were priced from $500,000 to $999,000.

Condo contracts also jumped in New York’s Westchester County, by 24%. On Long Island, excluding the Hamptons and the North Fork, they rose 6.5%. A majority of the transactions in both locations were priced below $500,000, the firms said.

Even high-end buyers found condos attractive last month. On Long Island, there were 16 deals to buy apartments for $1 million or more, up from just eight in that price range a year earlier.

In Greenwich, there were three contracts for condos priced at $2 million to $3.99 million.

“The pattern is contrary to the assumption that single-family homes are all that matter,” Miller said.

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