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REBNY Research: Investment Sales Report Tracks Record 54% Decline in Total Sales Volume


August 27, 2020

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REBNY’s 2020 Biannual Investment Sales Report Tracks Decline in Transactions, Resulting in a 58% Drop in Tax Revenue Since 2019

NEW YORK, NY – In the first half of 2020, investment sales in New York City totaled $10.5 billion, down 54% compared to the first half of 2019, according to the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY)’s 2020 Biannual Investment Sales Report. These figures both represent all-time lows since REBNY’s reporting began back in 2015.

The total number of investment sales transactions declined 32% year-over-year, to 1,229 transactions. The total sales volume declined 54% year-over-year to $10.5 billion. Overall, the sales volume of multifamily rental properties declined 50% and transactions declined 29% compared to the first half of 2019.

According to the report, the total tax revenue for the City and State generated from investment sales was $314 million, with $62 million in NYS transfer tax and $252 million in NYC transfer tax. Total tax revenue in the first half of 2020 represents a 49% decrease from the previous six months and a 58% decrease from the previous twelve months.

“We continue to see the devastating and long-lasting impacts the pandemic has had on the health and stability of the New York economy,” said REBNY President James Whelan. “Real estate is a fundamental driver of the City’s economy and it’s essential to New York’s recovery that the industry bounce back. We will continue to advocate for federal aid that addresses the needs of both the real estate industry and New York’s overall economic health.”

Key findings from the report include:

  • Citywide office sales volume declined 47% year-over-year to $3.6 billion. Total transactions declined 31% year-over-year to a total of 124 in the first half of 2020. The average price was $40.4 million representing a 28% decline year-over-year.

  • Multifamily rental properties sales volume citywide declined 51% year-over-year totaling $2 billion. Transactions declined 29% year-over-year to a total of 465 in the first half of 2020 with an average price of 17 million. This represents a drop in average price of 50% year-over-year.

  • Citywide, hotel sales volume declined 81% year-over-year to $294 million. Total transactions declined 70% year-over-year to a total of 6 in the first half of 2020 with an average price of $48,992,413. This represents a drop in average price of 37% year-over-year.

  • Retail sales volume citywide declined 27% year-over-year totaling $2 billion. Transactions declined 27% year-over-year to a total of 199 in the first half of 2020 with an average price of $10 million. Year-over-year, the average price remained flat.

“This analysis illustrates the continued challenges the City and industry face on the road towards recovery and the critical need for smart, forward-thinking policies at both a local and state level,” Whelan said. “If we are going to come back a stronger City, we need solutions that will address the pressure points we’re experiencing.”

Investment Sales By Borough

The total number of transactions across the five boroughs was 1,229 in the first half of 2020, with all five boroughs seeing a decline in sales.

Manhattan: Investment sales volume declined 59% year-over-year, totaling $5.89 billion. Similar to other boroughs, Manhattan transactions saw a 35% decline year-over-year. Overall, Manhattan experienced the largest decline in average sales price of the five boroughs, with a 37% decline. Office transactions experienced a 12% decline year-over-year, with sales volume declining 45% to $2.9 billion. Multifamily, non-elevator sales volume dropped 55% year-over-year, to $333 million. The biggest decline in Manhattan transactions was hotels, with a 75% decline.

Brooklyn: Investment sales volume declined 41% year-over-year, totaling $2.5 billion. Although Brooklyn transactions declined 25% year-over-year, across the five boroughs, Brooklyn boasted 35% of the total transactions. With the most sales transactions at 432, nearly half of these Brooklyn transactions were multifamily rental building sales. Multifamily rental, non-elevator transactions declined 25%, with a 21% decline in sales volume to $404 million. Retail experienced a 34% decline in transactions and 45% decline in sales year-over-year, to $232 million.

Bronx: Investment sales volume declined 37% year-over-year, totaling $848 million. The number of Bronx transactions declined 23% year-over-year at a total of 212 transactions. Vacant land transactions experienced an 11% increase year-over-year, totaling a 36% increase in sales volume to $194 million. Multifamily rental, non-elevator properties saw a 38% decline in transactions and 62% decline in sales volume, to $87 million.

Queens: Investment sales volume declined 57% year-over-year, totaling $1 billion. Queens experienced a sharp decline in transactions from the previous 12-months, with a 41% decline year-over-year. Two Queens property categories experienced an increase in average sales price year-over-year, including multifamily rental, non-elevator sales’ 18% increase to $2 million and garages/gas stations/auto sales’ 108% increase to $5 million respectively. Industrial transactions declined 52% year-over-year, with a 66% decline in sales volume to $343 million.

Staten Island: Investment sales volume declined 18% year-over-year, totaling $185 million. Staten Island transactions also experienced a 36% decline year-over-year. While Staten Island was the only borough to experience an increase in average sales price, due to a number of large sales, the median price decreased 12% year-over-year. Vacant land sales volume decreased 56% year-over-year, with a total of $27 million. On the retail side, sales volume declined 25% year-over-year to $32 million.

REBNY’s Biannual Investment Sales Report is New York City’s most comprehensive compilation of investment sales data. Created in 2015, the report captures citywide and borough breakdowns of closings data for 10 different property types - multifamily rental elevator, multifamily rental non-elevator, office, garages/gas stations/auto, vacant land, industrial, hotel, retail, commercial condo, and other. All data on recorded sales are provided by the New York City Department of Finance (DOF) Automated Register Information (ACRIS).

Download the complete Biannual Investment Sales Report for the first half of 2020 here.

For more information about REBNY research reports, visit

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The Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) is the City’s leading real estate trade association. Founded in 1896, REBNY represents commercial, residential, and institutional property owners, builders, managers, investors, brokers, and salespeople; banks, financial service companies, utilities, attorneys, architects, and contractors; corporations, co-partnerships, and individuals professionally interested in New York City real estate. REBNY conducts research on various civic matters including tax policy, city planning and zoning, rental conditions, land use policy, building codes, and other city, state, and federal legislation. REBNY regularly publishes market data, policy reports, and broker surveys. In addition, REBNY provides for its members: informational, technical, and technological resources; networking and charitable service opportunities; qualifying and continuing education courses; professional education programs, seminars, and designations; career-changing awards; legal advice; and a wide range of additional member benefits. For more information, please visit


Beth Miller

(212) 616-5223