More Families Eschewing Suburbs, Moving to Manhattan

Posted on Tue, 02-21-2012

The real estate firm Prudential Douglas Elliman released a report recently that looked at real estate prices and figures over the past ten years, and DNA Info noticed that the numbers pointed to an interesting new trend in the Manhattan condo market. More families are moving into condos in Manhattan than ever before. Traditionally, New Yorkers move out to the suburbs once they decide to have children, but judging from the number of three- and four-bedroom condos that sold in Manhattan from 2002 to 2011, those families are now eager to be in the city itself.

According to the report, three-bedroom apartments and four-bedroom apartments in Manhattan sold better from 2002 to 2011 than condos of any other size. All told, 3,263 three- and four-bedroom apartments were sold during the past ten years. Simultaneously, the average price for a condo increased 80%. In 2011, the average price for a condo was $1.4 million.

Business insiders attribute this to a growing desire families have to live in Manhattan. One expert told DNA Info that “people want to stay in the city and not go to the suburbs.” Another said “If you gave me a piece of land in a neighborhood seting, I would build only three- or four-bedroom apartments.” And this trend has started to show, as developers have begun to focus more on bigger houses. In , a building that opened in 2010 on the Upper West Side, 43% of the inventory is devoted to three-bedroom condos. And the Isis on 77th Street in the Upper East Side has intentionally placed its studios next to its three-bedrooms, for families that want to connect the two, or who want to have space nearby for a nanny.

The changing demographics suggest that more of the city is opening up to families, while singles and younger people are spreading into outer boroughs. Places like the West Village and the Lower East Side, former hot spots for the hip and young, are becoming high-end family locations that could one day resemble wealthier residential neighborhoods like the Upper West Side. And a spate of recently developed or planned high-end condos for sale in the downtown area will likely only bring additional families southward.

Manhattan is a constantly evolving beast, and its demographics are as unpredictable as they are elastic. But the rush of high-end construction in once-dirt cheap areas, and an influx of families moving into the city, suggest that this could be the direction that Manhattan is headed in. Until it isn’t.

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