During the height of the pandemic, the terrace became as vital as air conditioning in July. In Italy, neighbors conversed, played music, and even went jogging on their terraces, and New York owners and renters cheered on essential workers and relieved the stress from being pent-up inside all day. Peletons, yoga mats, and exercise bands all made it out to the terrace, converting them into home gyms as residents attempted to fight the flab on a postage-stamp-sized space. Now, with the virus hopefully in its death throes, terraces and outdoor spaces have emerged with a gilded sense of importance.
A Terrace is the Main Feature Searched for by Buyers
Long before the pandemic was an errant virus in Wuhan, appraiser Jonathan Miller calculated terraces to be work 25-50% of the ppsf (price per square foot) of the interior space. This was true whether accounting for a co-op, condo, or brownstone. However, during the pandemic, according to StreetEasy, searches for rentals with outdoor spaces shot up by 270% and Miller Samuel stated that apartments with terraces in Manhattan were selling for 5.4% more per square foot than they did before the lockdown. Not just any outdoor space will do, either. StreetEasy’s data showed that “searches for private outdoor space have outnumbered those for shared outdoor spaces (like roof decks or courtyards) by nearly seven to one. They’ve outnumbered searches for buildings with a gym by more than three to one.”
Our experience at Bracha skews these numbers even higher with some sellers pricing outdoor space the same as indoor space and buyers willing to pay. Due to the demand and the relative scarcity of condos with terraces, we have focussed on acquiring these listings, selling three in the last 3 weeks.
Vaccines Have Created a Euphoric Feel Good Factor in Manhattan as Sales Soar
What does this mean for the future of NYC? Well, a lot depends on whether Covid-19 is vanquished for good or if Delta or another variant lives to fight another day and create more chaos. For now, there’s a good feeling about NYC real estate. It’s not just that the vaccines appear to be working but after eighteen months of fear and anxiety, New Yorkers are happy to have their city back. They want to socialize, go to bars and restaurants and live something close to the lives they did before the dark days of 2020. This euphoria has been reflected in recent home sales in Manhattan and NYC generally, which have been stratospheric.
How will the Desire for Outdoor Space Impact NYC Real Estate?
Going forward it’s inevitable that there’ll be an extra emphasis put on outdoor space for individual units. One of the first responses to the pandemic was people snapping up Brooklyn’s brownstones for that very reason. In the luxury sector expect lavish landscaping and outdoor kitchens to complement dramatic city views and on the lower end expect terraces to becoming a standard feature of newer condos.
Expect summers to stretch further into the spring and fall with the addition of outdoor heating lamps, fire pits, patio heaters, and enclosed fires helping to make the most of outdoor space. After all, this is New York. We always find a way to make things work.