Owning a Manhattan Townhouse in the city that never sleeps is a dream come true for some. It's really the closest thing to owning your own home in a city of high rises and apartment houses. A townhome requires more care and patience than a condo or coop, but owning one can be very satisfying.
Before Covid, prior to when everyone was relegated to wearing masks, NYC townhouses for sale suffered. However, as social distancing instituted by the Center of Disease Control became the norm, the demand for townhouses as a primary residence exploded. Everybody wanted to be living in New York City and social distance at the same time. Therefore, sales activity of townhomes was at double the rate of demand for condos or coops and up 50% compared to townhouse demand pre-pandemic levels.
If you are planning to purchase a townhouse for sale Manhattan has some of the most exciting townhouses in the US. Whether you want a single-family townhouse or multi-family townhouse where you can receive rental income, you can find a selection of them in the search below. After the set of listings below, check out the Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about townhouses.
A Manhattan townhouse for sale is an expensive option no matter which way you slice it. New York City townhouses are in limited supply, so expect to pay for the luxury.
According to the Douglas Elliman Townhouse report, as of July 2022, the average sales price of a townhome in Manhattan stood at $7 million or $1,500 per square foot. Below we break down the prices by region of the city.
The average price for townhouses for sale NYC in Downtown Manhattan was $9.2M or $2,000 per square foot where the average width was 21.4 feet and the average size was 4,674 square feet.
The average width of a townhouse in NYC is 18 to 20 feet—the wider the townhouse, the more valuable it is. Anything narrower than this is considered hard to sell. Townhouses wider than 25ft are considered “trophy properties,” or mansions and are likely in the Luxury segment when analyzing townhomes.
Most townhouses are more than 3,000 square feet, with some luxury townhomes as large as 10,000 square feet. The average size, however, is approximately 4,500 sq. ft.
A brownstone is distinguished by the color of its facade, which is a reddish-brown colored sandstone. The majority of brownstones in New York can be found in the Upper West Side, Harlem and Brooklyn. A building that uses a material other than sandstone, such as marble, limestone or brick, is called a townhouse or row house.
Brownstones and Townhouses are multi-story urban houses that are attached or detached. They’re built close to the street and sized similarly to the surrounding properties.
Owning a brownstone in Manhattan is a privilege, but renovating one is an ambitious project. They’re versatile investments, but they’re often more than a century old and will need updates.
The cost of living in NYC is very high, therefore, expect the cost of renovations to also be very high. To gut renovate a brownstone or townhouse, expect to spend at least $400 per square foot.
In the luxury segment, we have seen renovation costs to be high as $1,000 per square foot. Often, brownstones differ from other NYC living in sheer size—an average of 3,200 square feet. This can mean spending millions on a renovation.
A townhouse buyer should definitely engage their own broker when purchasing a townhouse. If you are moving to New York and want to invest in real estate, you should definitely speak to a broker that understands the market, market capitalization rates, and neighborhoods.
The Manhattan real estate market is competitive and complex. For buyers, especially buyers of townhomes, this process can be extremely stressful. Financial constraints can present even more hurdles.
A buyer and seller of a townhouse have two totally different goals, as the seller wants to maximize the price they will get for their townhouse and a buyer wants to minimize the price they will pay for a townhouse. These goals are completely opposite of one another and the reason why a buyer should never go directly to the homeowner or their representative (their broker).
Make sure to use a seasoned buyers broker who has your best interest at heart. Going directly to the seller’s broker is inherently risky and illegal in many states. A buyer’s broker can make a world of difference when buying a home as you will get objective representation. A good buyer's broker will always include the expertise of a seasoned home inspector as well as a seasoned NYC real estate attorney (with experience in townhome purchases and sales), as buying a townhouse will have a whole set of different issues than buying a condo or coop.
While one may not see a New York townhouse for sale on the MLS, it might still be for sale because there are lots of pocket listings in the townhouse market. A good broker will know where to look for off market opportunities.
In any other city or state, the answer would probably be yes. But, living in New York complicates the answer to this question. But, if you are an investor looking to purchase a rental property, perhaps a NYC townhouse might not be the best option.
If you purchase a townhouse that comes with rent controlled or rent stabilized tenants, these tenants usually pay less than the current market value. Buying a townhouse with a rent controlled tenant is perhaps the worst thing a townhouse buyer could do as they are paying significantly under market and they usually stay in the apartment until death.
In New York City, there are new laws that make owning property with certain kinds of tenants a big problem for investors. Rent controlled and rent stabilized tenants pay below market prices for their apartments. The city and state regulate how much an investor can raise the rent each year.
Also, when you inherit tenants when buying a building, you don’t know much about them, including their credit score, asset level, etc. One could be purchasing a bunch of problems and one won’t know for a while until time passes to see whether they are paying their rent on time.
No single neighborhood in New York will have everything you want, but they each have something unique to offer. However, when it comes to single family homes, the Upper East Side, Upper West side and the West Village have the most townhouses for sale nyc.
A multi family townhouse is one with 3 or more units. Buying a multi family townhouse is like buying investment property. In this case, the buyer inherits all the existing leases in the building. Therefore, the new owner can’t evict anyone in the building.
There are a lot of tax benefits in buying a multi family home that is used by the buyer. First, since the owner is an investor, he or she can deduct all the maintenance costs, mortgage interest, insurance costs, property taxes and depreciation. All of these can be offset against rental income, allowing the owner to have negative taxable income in the early years of ownership.
When doing due diligence for a townhouse purchase, brokers work closely with the home inspector and transaction attorney to make sure the buyer knows exactly what they are buying.
First, due diligence will include reading the records from the Department of Buildings (“DOB”) that show construction permits and code and zoning violations. Any open violations or open construction permits will have to be addressed by the seller before closing.
Second, a home inspection will allow for a visual examination of the property. If you one is going to obtain a mortgage, the bank will require a home inspector.
A home inspector will evaluate the construction of the property and issue a report on any deficiencies. One of the most important items to consider in a home inspection are changes to the home that do not show up in the DOB records.
Often, to pinch pennies, a homeowner might do work without licensed workers. By comparing what has been visually examined in the building to DOB records, the home inspector can identify what work has been approved and built by licensed carpenters, plumbers and electricians and what has not. Unlicensed work is a big red flag and will likely kill a deal unless it can be properly assessed or compensated.
If the home inspector identifies deficiencies, the buyer will ask the seller to make repairs before closing. Sometimes the seller will make these repairs, but other times a seller may decline to pay for those repairs. In New York, most contracts are written “As Is”, so the seller probably won’t fix anything before closing.
At that point, the buyer needs to assess whether the repairs are critical to the townhome. If so, this could lead to a further price negotiation or credit at closing.
Since a contract is not finalized until both the seller and buyer sign the contract, there may be some time to do this evaluation before even signing the contract. A contract can include an inspection period, which would allow the buyer to get out of the contract after signing the contract. However, this is not very common in New York City.