Why Townhouses Are on the Rise in Manhattan Right Now


Manhattan’s real estate market is on the move. According to Coldwell Banker Warburg’s May 2024 Manhattan Market Trend Report, townhomes saw the highest price increases but co-ops were the biggest movers. Overall contract activity in Manhattan was up nearly 7.4% during the month of May.

What's going on behind the numbers? We asked Kevelyn Guzman, Regional Vice President of Coldwell Banker Warburg, to give us the inside scoop. With her help, we dive into the latest trends, pricing insights and predictions for Manhattan's ever-evolving real estate landscape right as the city readies itself for another hot summer. 

Coldwell Banker Global Luxury: Manhattan townhouses saw the greatest average price per square foot increase from $1,424 to $1,812, representing a 27.26% month-to-month jump in May. In your experience, what factors are driving this rise in popularity for townhouses compared to other property types like condos?

Kevelyn Guzman: The jump in price per square foot for Manhattan townhouses could be based on the limited inventory for the townhouse lifestyle afforded to discerning buyers. Townhouse owners tend to plant roots and remain in occupancy for long periods of time, often passing from generation to generation. However, there is another factor at play that is causing an increase in demand: purchasing a townhouse allows a well-heeled purchaser to avoid the intrusive process of dealing with co-op boards (with condo boards becoming just as difficult). This is not limited to the process of submitting voluminous personal and financial information to obtain approval to purchase. Once approved, a new owner will often face years of delay with restrictive building policies on renovations. Buyers with the financial resources to acquire and renovate large properties have an alternative. By acquiring a townhouse, a buyer is spared the scrutiny of a coop or condo board and the endless delays involved in obtaining approval to renovate.

Coldwell Banker Global Luxury: Where are the best townhouse blocks in Manhattan?

Kevelyn Guzman: Manhattan’s many neighborhoods offer their own unique benefits and advantages – a tree-lined block in the West Village will appeal to certain buyers, while an Upper East Side or Upper West Side townhouse just one block from Central Park will appeal to others. The 70s and 80s on the Upper East Side come to mind with two blocks as examples: 70th Street between Park and Lexington Avenues, and 64th Street between Fifth and Madison Avenues. 70th Street is almost entirely made up of beautiful townhouses on both the north and south sides of the street. 64th Street, just one block from Central Park, is especially picturesque, with many limestone mansions. Nearby, a fully renovated 20-foot-wide mansion at 52 E 66th Street asking $24.8 million went into contract at the end of May. Truth be told, any number of streets between Columbus Avenue and Central Park West – commonly referred to as “Park blocks” offer a wide variety of single or two-family homes amidst tree-lined streets just a short distance from Central Park.

Coldwell Banker Global Luxury: Midsize buildings and boutiques also saw increases in the average price per square foot in the report. Do you think this points to the quiet luxury trend at all, where people don't want to draw attention to their wealth or status, preferring something more low-key?

Kevelyn Guzman: There is definitely a trend towards smaller, midsize buildings and boutique developments that afford owners a more discreet and secure lifestyle.

Coldwell Banker Global Luxury: Do you believe these property trends will carry through the summer?

Kevelyn Guzman: We do not expect any significant change in the market over the summer. While interest rates remain high and the upcoming presidential election is monopolizing the news, the luxury market remains active. Just last week, according to the Olshan Luxury Market Report, thirty-one contracts were signed in Manhattan for listings asking $4 million and above – matching the total for the same week in 2023. The No. 1 contract was a full-floor unit at 760 Madison Avenue, a 10-unit luxury development designed by Giorgio Armani – and 6 townhouse contracts were signed during the same period.


Related Posts