The Impact of the Coronavirus Pandemic on New York City Real Estate: First Evidence
38 Pages Posted: 9 Nov 2021 Last revised: 2 Mar 2022
Date Written: October 1, 2021
Concerns about the lingering novel Coronavirus may have led to long-term structural change in desired dwelling locations in some large U.S. cities, such as New York City. Densely concentrated neighborhoods may be at higher risk of virus contagion, giving more individuals incentives to move out. We investigate whether this pandemic-induced disamenity adversely affected real estate prices of one- or two-family owner-occupied properties across New York City. First, OLS hedonic results indicate that greater COVID case numbers are concentrated in neighborhoods with lower-valued properties. Second, we use a repeat-sales approach for the period 2003 to 2020, and we find that both the fear of contagion and pandemic-induced income effects adversely impacted home sale prices. Estimates suggest sale prices fell by roughly $60,000 or around 8% in response to both of the following: 1,000 additional infections per 100,000 residents; and a 10-percentage point increase in unemployment in a given MODZCTA. These price effects were more pronounced during the second wave of infections. Based on cumulative MODZCTA infection rates through 2020, the estimated COVID-19 price discount ranged from approximately 1% to 50% in the most affected neighborhoods, and averaged 14%. Interestingly, the fear of contagion effect intensified in the more affluent, but less densely populated NYC neighborhoods, while the income effect was more pronounced in the most densely populated neighborhoods with more rental properties and greater population shares of foreign-born residents. This disparity implies the pandemic led to inequality between homeowners in lower-priced and higher-priced neighborhoods.
Keywords: COVID-19, Hedonic, Repeat Sales, Price Discount, Housing Wealth Inequality
JEL Classification: R31
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation