China’s Central Bank Has Quietly Launched Its Own QE

China’s Central Bank Has Quietly Launched Its Own QE

Tyler Durden

Wed, 08/12/2020 – 21:25

Earlier this week we discussed the striking difference between virtually every western central bank balance sheet – of which the Fed’s is a prime example – all of which have grown at a staggering pace over the past decades and especially since the covid crisis as central banks acquired various securities most notably Treasurys and MBS to ease monetary conditions…

… and that of the PBOC which has been surprisingly steady because – as we explained before – China has been gradually transitioning from a quantity-based monetary policy framework to a price-based one, whereby monetary policy is primarily adjusted via quantity-based instruments such as RRR cuts.

The difference in how policies are conducted – QE purchases for the Fed and RRR cuts for the PBOC – is fundamentally the reason why we haven’t seen PBOC balance sheet behave in the same way as Fed balance sheet during the recent easing cycle.

However, the PBOC’s reluctance to engage in open and explicit QE may now be over, because according to a new report, the People’s Bank of China may have quietly bought government bonds from domestic banks in July, which as Bloomberg puts it, is a rare move that has analysts puzzling over the monetary authority’s policy intentions amid a record amount of government debt issuance.

While there has been no overt change to the PBOC’s policy, tracking sovereign bonds held by “other” investors – a category that includes central banks and clearing houses – showed an increase of 196.5 billion yuan to 1.78 trillion yuan ($256 billion) last month, based on data by China Central Depository & Clearing Co.

The increase, the biggest since Bloomberg data started in late 2018, prompted analysts from Citic Securities to Nomura Holdings and GF Securities to speculate the central bank might have bought some government debt in the month.

If confirmed that the PBOC has finally joined western banks in purchasing bonds in the open market, this would be dramatic reversal to years of convention: in the past, Chinese policy makers have frequently said in the past they do not intend to enact the kind of bond-market purchases seen in developed markets and have restricted stimulus measures throughout the coronavirus crisis to moderate trimming of market interest rates and a more generous liquidity policy. But they have flagged a willingness to support the government’s fiscal policy.

Ironically, just this past May, Ma Jun, a member of the PBOC’s monetary policy committee, wrote in a newspaper article that any proposals that the PBOC should buy government debt directly would, in essence, be asking the central bank to “print money” to finance fiscal deficit.

Monetary financing “will have long-term impact on the macro economy, fiscal sustainability and financial stability,” Ma wrote in the central bank’s Financial News newspaper. Doing so would mean “giving up the last line of defense on government fiscal behavior.”

Monetary financing could cause hyperinflation, asset bubbles, currency weakening, over-borrowing and lower productivity, Ma said.

And while Ma was absolutely correct, in the end China appears to have succumbed for the temptation of CTRL-P, the same as most other central banks.

“There’s a possibility that the central bank has bought sovereign bonds,” Ming Ming, head of fixed-income research at Citic Securities in Beijing, wrote in a note, though he cited the possibility of other factors being behind the rise. The move is more likely to be an effort to “directly finance the real economy” rather than quantitative easing, with the PBOC buying anti-virus bonds that invest in projects with a steady return, he said.

Call it whatever you want Ming, at the end of the day it’s all about words and the narrative, because just like the Fed, the PBOC is forbidden by the nation’s central bank law from purchasing government debt in the primary market. That however hasn’t stopped the US central bank from monetizing $7 trillion worth of US deficits.

Researchers affiliated with China’s Ministry of Finance had previously suggested the central bank should buy some government debt this year, a step which could help reduce the impact on markets as the government plans a record amount of sales to mitigate growth risks.

None of this should come as a surprise: as Rabobank’s Michael Every sarcastically notes, “it’s not as if the Chinese state does not play a vast role in the economy and markets, is it? The consolidated fiscal deficit was already in double digits even before the virus struck according to the IMF: take a guess as to where it is now – and don’t think the PBOC isn’t ultimately backstopping this, because it is.”

$15 Billion In Federal Funding Flows Into Just Five Major U.S. Cities Where Civil Unrest Looms & Police Stand Down

$15 Billion In Federal Funding Flows Into Just Five Major U.S. Cities Where Civil Unrest Looms & Police Stand Down

Tyler Durden

Wed, 08/12/2020 – 21:05

Submitted by Adam Andrzejewski,

After the George Floyd protests broke out across major U.S. cities, some mayors and police chiefs were accused of issuing stand-down orders to their police officers. Nightly news streamed video footage of the looting, rioting, and general mayhem that ensued in the absence of a civil order.

“Autonomous zones” sprung up in progressive cities and were described as part of a “summer of love.” Mayors pushed to defund local police departments. Center-right politicians called these cities “lawless” for refusing to protect the life, liberty, and property of its residents.

In Seattle, the highly compensated city council voted to defund their police department. In Congress, an effort led by U.S. Sens Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Joni Ernst (R-IA) pushed to defund these cities of their federal aid.

President Donald Trump indicated a willingness to review the situation. However, nobody knew exactly how much federal funding was “at stake.”

Auditors at OpenTheBooks.com quantified $14.8 billion in federal contracts and grants flowing into five major cities where civil unrest looms and policing is restrained: Seattle, Portland, New York, Washington, D.C., and San Francisco.

We mapped the flow of federal funds during fiscal year 2019 to all units of government based within the city location. Here’s how it breaks down:

Portland, Oregon (Federal awards: $252.5 million | pop. 653,115) A family of four, on average, received $1,548 in federal subsidies ($387 per person). The City of Portland (Mayor Ted Wheeler) received $34 million with the police department only getting $37,000. The public schools received $4.9 million and the housing authority another $26.4 million.

Other governments receiving aid included the Port of Portland ($33.5 million) and $143.9 million into higher education: the local community college ($53 million), and Portland State University ($90.9 million).  Since FY2016, federal funding into Portland-based governments increased from $173.7 million to $252.5 million (FY2019), up 45.4-percent.

Wheeler, who also doubles as the police commissioner, has always denied giving stand-down orders to the police. However, since 2016, prominent critics have alleged a hands-off police presence in the face of violent protests and riots.

Seattle, Washington (Federal awards: $365.1 million | pop. 744,955) A family of four, on average, received $1,960 in federal subsidies ($490 per person). The City of Seattle (Mayor Jenny Durkan) received $97.5 million. The public schools received $42.5 million. The housing authority received $203 million in federal aid.

Other governments receiving aid included City Light – a city-owned utility ($3.8 million), and the Port of Seattle ($17 million). Seattle colleges received $1.1 million in grant funding. Since FY2016, federal funding into Seattle-based governments increased from $283.6 million to $365.1 million (FY2019), up 28.7-percent.

In June, Durkan called the “police-free” Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ) within Seattle’s East Precinct a “block party” and police boarded up their precinct and let the protesters have free reign.

San Francisco, California (Federal awards: $516 million | pop. 883,305) A family of four, on average, received $2,337 in federal subsidies ($584 per person). San Francisco city hall (Mayor London Breed) received $279.2 million – dwarfed by the $309 million into the housing authority. The fire department received $1.4 million.

The city also received nearly $1 million of surplus military equipment under Program 1033. Since 2013, the city procured 320 items including 136 infrared illuminators, 100 night vision scopes, 49 reflex and thermal sights, 2 night vision sniper scopes, and a remote ordinance neutralization robot ($185,493). Transportation districts received nearly $140 million including the the city transportation authority ($7.1 million), Golden Gate Bridge district ($64 million), and Metropolitan Transportation Commission ($68 million).

Other government receiving aid included the Coastal Commission ($2.9 million) and Judicial Commission of California ($4 million).

Since FY2016, federal funding into San Francisco-based governments increased from $509 million to $584 million (FY2019), up 14.7-percent. In June, Breed announced that the police would no longer respond to a host of de-criminalized activities; and in July, the mayor announced a defunding of the police with the dollars re-directed toward the black community.

San Fran was already the national leader in pretty crimes that critics say was the result of lack of police law enforcement.

Washington, D.C. (Federal awards: $3.3 billion | pop. 705,000) A family of four, on average, received the equivalent of $18,723 in federal subsidies ($4,680 per person).

In Washington, D.C. (Mayor Muriel Bowser), we found 33 separate city agencies receiving federal funds: the district government ($2 billion), the Metropolitan Police Department ($3.8 million), the fire department ($5.7 million), emergency management ($18.5 million), the DC university ($76.4 million), housing authority ($125.6 million), and public schools ($996.4 million).

Other DC units of government receiving federal money included human services ($54.3 million), employment services ($35.9 million), health department ($24.3 million), energy and environment ($7.3 million), consumer & regulatory affairs ($3 million), and the commission on the arts ($1.8 million).

Since FY2016, federal funding into Washington, D.C. increased from $2.2 billion to $3.3 billion (FY2019), up 50-percent. (This comparison between the years does not account for a $4.5 billion in funding from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to an entity listed in the federal data as “Dist. of Col.” in FY2019.)

In June, President Trump criticized Bowser of “not locking down the city” as protests turned violent. The mayor defended the actions of the unified command of local and federal law enforcement. However, she called for the removal of all “extraordinary federal law enforcement and military” from the city.

New York, New York (Federal awards: $5.6 billion | pop. 8.4 million) A family of four, on average, received the equivalent of $2,667 in federal subsidies ($667 per person). We found 52 units of government based in New York City (Mayor Bill de Blasio) receiving federal funds: the city government ($2.4 billion), housing authority ($2.3 billion), and the social services department ($875.3 million). The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey received $61 million and the city university received $616 million. Other city agencies receiving federal funds included homeless services ($2.4 million), the medical examiner ($1.5 million), and library ($322,966).

In 2016 and 2017, the city police used Program 1033 to procure two mine-resistant vehicles. These military MRAPs, with a value of $1.5 million, were loaned at no charge by the Department of Defense. Because of inconsistent federal disclosures, a comparison between FY2016 and FY2019 can not be calculated. In June, the police union accused de Blasio of a stand down order. CNN reported $1 billion in budget cuts to the police department.

As the above analysis shows, cutting the flow of federal funding into cities is a difficult proposition. However, the federal government could begin moving facilities out of unsafe cities. Officials and department secretaries could move federal buildings, agencies, and bureaucracies into safe environments. Doing so would have a substantial negative economic impact on cities.

It just may cause mayors and police chiefs to re-prioritize the civil order.

Note: we requested comment from the five city mayors and the Office of the President, Office of Management & Budget and will update the piece with responses, if any.

Attention Broke Millennials: Roundtrip Airfare Has Never Been Lower

Attention Broke Millennials: Roundtrip Airfare Has Never Been Lower

Tyler Durden

Wed, 08/12/2020 – 20:45

Airline shares have erupted in August after federal data showed a bump in air travel volumes is now at five-month highs. 

The latest data via Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoints at U.S. airports has surged in the last ten days, now at the highest levels since mid-March. However, TSA’s total traveler throughput data for the same weekday one year ago (Monday, August 10) is still down nearly 70%. 

U.S. Global Jets ETF has risen more than 20% in August as air travel volumes increase.

For the broke millennials, whom many are unemployed, and set to receive another stimulus check, here are some unbelievable roundtrip deals later this month (should be around the time when the next checks arrive):

  • New York City to Miami for $27 
  • New York City to Atlanta for $27
  • New York City to New Orleans for $58
  • New York City to Dallas for $27
  • New York City to Los Angeles $51

Travel map for roundtrip flights in the US (Friday, Agust 28 – Monday, August 31): 

There’s just one problem: you might catch the virus while on an airplane… 

Indian Government To Launch Mandatory Digital Health Card On Bill Gates Concept

Indian Government To Launch Mandatory Digital Health Card On Bill Gates Concept

Tyler Durden

Wed, 08/12/2020 – 20:25

Submitted by GreatGameIndia

The Indian government is planning to launch a mandatory digital health card modeled on Bill Gates’ concept. Under the ‘One Nation One Health Card’ scheme, a person’s medical history records, including all the treatments and tests that the person has undergone, will be digitally saved in this card. Hospitals, clinics, and doctors will all be linked to a central server. The move is aimed at mapping the health records of every citizen of the country in a digital format.

Indian Govt To Launch Mandatory Digital Health Card On Bill Gates Concept

One Nation One Health Card

After the ‘One Nation One Ration Card’ scheme, the Government is now preparing to bring ‘One Nation One Health Card’ scheme. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to make the announcement on August 15, during the Independence Day celebrations, reported DNA.

Under the ‘One Nation One Health Card’ scheme, a person’s medical history records, including all the treatments and tests that the person has undergone, will be digitally saved in this card.

Hospitals, clinics, and doctors will all be linked to a central server. The move is aimed at mapping the health records of every citizen of the country in a digital format. Although it is being claimed that “it is completely up to hospitals and citizens, whether they want to opt for the ‘One Nation One Health Card’ scheme or not”.

Are we living in data myths?
Besides, the scheme is completely up to hospitals/ citizens, whether they want to opt for the ‘One Nation One Health Card’ scheme or not. https://t.co/AGuRdeVVU9

— biju govind (@bijugovind) August 9, 2020

A unique ID will be issued to every citizen who opts for this card, through which he/she will be able to log in to the system. Health Card will be made on the lines of Aaadhar Card, reported DNA.

The scheme will be implemented in a phase-wise manner. A budget of Rs 500 crore has been allotted for the first phase of the plan. According to DNA, “the scope of the ‘One Nation One Health Card’ scheme will be gradually extended so that not only clinics and hospitals, but medical stores and medical insurance companies can remain connected on the server through this scheme”.

National Digital Health Blueprint

Although the DNA report did not disclose more details about the project, the ‘blueprint’ of the plan to set up a health data empire in India was released by the central govt last year. Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Dr Harsh Vardhan, unveiled the ‘National Digital Health Blueprint’, saying that he was ‘taking an oath to achieve a new dream’ – of a digitised healthcare ecosystem.

In line with the vision of Hon’ble PM @narendramodi ji to create a #DigitalIndia where technology becomes an enabler for India’s development story, @MoHFW_INDIA has drafted the ‘National Digital Health Blueprint’ to provide a seamless corridor for connecting all stakeholders. pic.twitter.com/C4ZigBT2Ip

— Dr Harsh Vardhan (@drharshvardhan) July 15, 2019

The main foundation of the blueprint is a unique health ID for citizens, with Aadhaar as a key identifier. A 2018 proposal of the NITI Aayog, the NHS has been developed in consultation with iSPIRT – an organisation of private sector ‘volunteers’, some of whom have also been involved in building the Aadhaar infrastructure and running operations that leverage it.

While the government has moved ahead with sale of vehicle registration data of millions, released a tender for a nationwide facial recognition system and also passed Aadhaar amendment, the DNA Technology Bill and now the Digital Health Card, it is yet to table the data protection bill.

Lobby Group iSPIRT

Data researchers and activists, however, have expressed concerns about the development of this policy, which proposes a health data set-up on a foundation of India Stack – a bouquet of privately-owned proprietary software applications.

“The health stack was proposed by the lobby group iSPIRT,” told Srinivas Kodali, an independent researcher to The Quint.

IndiaStack is a set of APIs that allows governments, businesses, startups and developers to utilise the Aadhaar infrastructure for businesses like eKYC and UPI digital payments.

“In fact it was found that NITI Aayog was emailing all consultation documents to iSPIRT while they did not place them in public domain. The Blueprint appears to give more legitimacy to stacks, which have been under criticism,” added Kodali.

Simultaneously, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has initiated a COVID-19 Surveillance Project in India in partnership with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. The data gathered through full-scale surveillance will be used to make future Indian strategies for containment in India.

Although, what “future strategies for containment” will be implemented by WHO’s pointman in India were not revealed, similar projects by the agency and related organisations implemented elsewhere give us a clear idea of where India is heading.

Vaccination based Digital Identity

A vaccination based digital identity program Trust Stamp funded by Bill Gates and implemented by Mastercard and GAVI, will soon link your biometric digital identity to your vaccination records. The program said to “evolve as you evolve” is part of the Global War on Cash and has the potential dual use for the purposes of surveillance and “predictive policing” based on your vaccination history. Those who may not wish to be vaccinated may be locked out of the system based on their trust score.

This Wellness Program involving GAVI, Mastercard, and Trust Stamp is soon going to be tested in West Africa. Similar program was also launched in the UK. The UK government is rolling out COVI PASS – Biometric RFID enabled Coronavirus Digital Health Passports to monitor nearly every aspect of citizens’ lives in the name of strengthening public health management through a military grade tech.

In line with the vision of Hon’ble PM @narendramodi ji to create a #DigitalIndia where technology becomes an enabler for India’s development story, @MoHFW_INDIA has drafted the ‘National Digital Health Blueprint’ to provide a seamless corridor for connecting all stakeholders. pic.twitter.com/C4ZigBT2Ip

— Dr Harsh Vardhan (@drharshvardhan) July 15, 2019

There is tremendous pressure on sovereign governments to implement such policies dictated by global agencies. Recently Belarus exposed the conditions laid by these agencies for loans being provided for COVID-19. The President of Belarus revealed that the World Bank coronavirus aid comes with conditions for imposing extreme lockdown measures, to model their coronavirus response on that of Italy and even changes in the economic policies which he refused as being “unacceptable”.

Real Estate Collapse: In Q2, A Record 44 NYC Neighborhoods Closed Fewer Than Five Deals

Real Estate Collapse: In Q2, A Record 44 NYC Neighborhoods Closed Fewer Than Five Deals

Tyler Durden

Wed, 08/12/2020 – 20:11

By Eliza Theiss of Property Shark

Marked by strict lockdowns, the halt of economic activity and the loss and suffering brought on by COVID-19, New York City’s real estate market was bound to present a decidedly different picture in the second quarter both year-over-year (Y-o-Y) and quarter-over-quarter (Q-o-Q).

First, it’s important to note that, during the last quarter, a record 44 NYC neighborhoods closed fewer than five deals — a metric we consider to be the lowest minimum threshold for calculating a neighborhood’s median sale price. As a result, these neighborhoods are not represented in our findings. In total, we analyzed the second quarter’s median sale price and sales activity changes in 157 NYC neighborhoods.

Next, the most notable change was brought on by Brooklyn, which — for the first time ever — had more neighborhoods among the city’s most expensive than Manhattan. Specifically, of the 52 neighborhoods that were ranked as the city’s 50 most expensive (due to two ties), Brooklyn claimed 23 entries versus Manhattan’s 21 neighborhoods, while Queens was represented by eight areas.

Pandemic-Depressed Market Slashes Manhattan Sales in Half, Brooklyn Sales Only by a Third

Overall, the median sale price for the four boroughs contracted 2% Y-o-Y in Q2 and gained 4% Q-o-Q, stabilizing at $675,178. But, while the overall median of the four boroughs remained largely unchanged, sales activity plummeted — down 36% Q-o-Q and down 43% Y-o-Y. In particular, Manhattan was hit the hardest of the four boroughs. Its sales activity was halved, and the median sale price dropped 22% Y-o-Y from $1.27 million to $990,000.

That significant drop was brought on by two major factors: a change in the ratio of property types sold and sale prices sliding under the influence of the new economic and public health crisis. And, while condo units represented half of all sales in Q2 2019, that share dropped to 44% in Q2 2020. Moreover, the median sale price of condo units traded in Q2 contracted 7% Y-o-Y from $1.745 million in 2019 to $1.625 million in 2020.

At the same time, the number of co-ops traded dropped at a less dramatic rate and, as a result, co-ops made up a larger share of Manhattan residential sales: 55% this year compared to 49% last year. However, the median sale price of co-ops contracted at a sharper rate than condos, dropping 10% Y-o-Y — from $830,000 in Q2 2019 to $750,000 in Q2 2020.

Brooklyn led in terms of sales activity, with the number of transactions recorded here in Q2 dropping only 32%, while its median sale price slid 2% to $702,000. Although sales activity decreased across all asset types — down 29% Y-o-Y for co-ops, 30% for condos and 41% for single-family homes — the median sale price presented conflicting trends across different property types. As a result, Brooklyn’s Q2 2020 residential market presented a fractured image.

Condo and co-op sales took up a larger share of Brooklyn’s residential sales in Q2 2020 compared to Q2 2019 — to the detriment of single-family home sales. In particular, houses represented 22% of all second-quarter sales in 2020, as opposed to 25% in 2019. Meanwhile, co-op units represented 28% compared to 27% a year ago, and condo unit sales increased from 48% to 50% of all sales.

Notably, the median sale price of single-family homes increased 7% Y-o-Y to $773,000 and the co-op median gained 9% Y-o-Y to reach $462,000. However, the drop in the median sale price of Brooklyn condos paired with their increased share of total sales deflated the entire borough’s Q2 median this year. Specifically, Brooklyn condos registered a 4% Y-o-Y drop, going from last year’s $863,000 to $825,000 in Q2 2020.

Bronx Single-Family Sales Surge, While Queens Condos Heat Up Borough Pricing

The Bronx and Queens showed similar trends, both in terms of pricing and sales activity evolution across all residential property types. Queens fared well in terms of price growth, with its median rising 12.3% Y-o-Y from $463,000 to $520,000, although transactional activity shrank 42% Y-o-Y. Meanwhile, Bronx prices actually rose at a slightly sharper rate of 12.5% Y-o-Y, but sales activity plunged 46% here.

In particular, price growth in the Bronx was fueled by the significant increase in the share of sales of single-family homes. While condos made up 23% of all second-quarter sales in 2019 and single-family homes 34%, in 2020, the share of condo sales dropped to 18% of the borough’s total residential sales, while single-family homes made up 40%.

And, because the median sale price of single-family homes ($525,000 in Q2 2020) is significantly higher than that of condos ($225,000 in Q2 2020), the Bronx’s overall median sale price grew, as well, going from $289,000 a year ago to $325,000 in Q2 of this year.

Queens, a borough dominated by single-family homes, saw its sales activity drop at the sharpest rate for this property type. At the same time, condos outperformed every other residential property type, both in terms of pricing and number of sales.

More precisely, Queens condo sales declined a mere 4% Y-o-Y, while their median sale price rose 13% Y-o-Y to reach $644,000 in Q2 2020. Likewise, condos also constituted a larger share of all sales in 2020, representing 22% of all Q2 transactions this year, as opposed to 13% in 2019.

However, as condos still madk up a relatively small percentage of all Queens sales, the borough’s second-quarter sales activity dropped 42% Y-o-Y, fueled by the 47% decline in co-op sales and 48% decrease in single-family home sales. As a result, co-ops represented 37% of all Q2 sales in Queens and single-family homes made up 41%, down from last year’s 40% and 47%, respectively.

Although sales activity decreased across the board, the borough’s 13% price increase was sustained by a 7% Y-o-Y increase in the median sale price of both co-ops ($320,000 in Q2 2020) and single-family homes ($644,000), and boosted by the 13% Y-o-Y hike for condos.

Kingsbridge Median Surges 147% Y-o-Y, Gowanus Sales Activity Heats Up 230%

At the neighborhood level, the Bronx’s Kingsbridge led in terms of pricing gains with its 147% Y-o-Y surge. Specifically, it went from $230,000 in Q2 2019 to $568,000 in Q2 2020 due to the change in types of properties sold. For instance, while the seven sales recorded in Q2 2019 were all co-ops, Q2 2020 saw six sales — three of which were single-family homes.

Kingsbridge’s pricing surge was followed by Williamsbridge’s 100% Y-o-Y boom, which brought the Bronx neighborhood’s median sale price up to $478,000. That jump was also the result of an increase in the number of single-family homes sold. While single-family homes made up half of Williamsbridge sales in Q2 2019 and had a median sale price of $462,000, in Q2 2020, single-family homes represented 67% of the neighborhood’s sales at a noticeably higher median sale price of $512,000.

At the other end of the spectrum stood Prospect Park South, which experienced the sharpest decline — down 54% Y-o-Y. It went from a median sale price of $1.23 million a year ago to $568,000 in Q2 2020. Once again, that change was brought on by a change in the mix of property types sold and their lower price points.

Specifically, in Q2 2019, Prospect Park South’s residential sales were comprised of 57% co-op units and 43% single-family homes. However, this year, single-family homes represented just 17% of sales, while co-ops took 33% and condos made up 50%. That was a significant change, as Q2’s condo sales had a median sale price of $560,000.

Nearby, the median sale price of Hunter’s Point co-ops decreased 23% Y-o-Y from $778,000 to $592,000. Additionally, while the three single-family homes sold in Q2 2019 had a median of $2.215 million, only two homes were sold in Q2 2020, and those averaged $959,000.

In terms of sales activity, Brooklyn’s Gowanus witnessed the sharpest growth rate at a whopping 230% Y-o-Y. However, it must be noted that, in terms of actual transactions, that figure represents an increase from 10 deals registered in Q2 2019 to 33 transactions registered in Q2 2020. That surge was fueled by sales in new developments in the neighborhood, such as Luna at 229 9th Street., which originated 12 condo sales in Q2 2020 and none in Q2 2019.

Meanwhile, Brooklyn neighborhood Greenwood Heights and Queens’ Hunters Point experienced the next-sharpest gains in transactional activity, both recording 123% more sales than in Q2 2019. All in all, only 15 of the 157 NYC neighborhoods included in this report registered year-over-year increases in transactional activity.

On the opposite end of the spectrum was Brooklyn’s Greenpoint. Its 83% Y-o-Y drop was the sharpest rate of decrease in sales activity among all neighborhoods that had at least five sales. In particular, only 14 deals closed in Greenpoint in Q2 2020, as opposed to the 80 that were registered here in the same timeframe last year, fueled by the sale of 48 luxury condos at the then-new mixed-use development The Greenpoint. As a result, the neighborhood’s median sale price also contracted, dropping 22% Y-o-Y from $1.36 million in Q2 2019 to $1.06 million in Q2 2020.

Brooklyn Overtakes Manhattan for First Time, Lands More Neighborhoods in Top 50 Priciest

Among the neighborhoods omitted from our analysis due to insufficient sales activity were high-profile names like Hudson Yards, Malba and the Columbia Street Waterfront District, which ranked as the #1, #7 and #9 most expensive NYC neighborhoods in Q1 2020. Consequently, TriBeCa reclaimed the title of #1 most expensive neighborhood in NYC, despite a 14% Y-o-Y price drop that brought its median sale price down to $3.73 million. At the same time, sales activity plummeted 52% Y-o-Y.

The city’s #2 most expensive neighborhood was Little Italy at $2.75 million. Its median sale price registered a mild 3% Y-o-Y uptick, paired with a 4% gain Q-o-Q. But, its sales activity dropped 22% Y-o-Y, closing only seven deals in Q2 2020.

Similarly, SoHo’s $2.425 million median sale price earned it the title of NYC’s #3 most expensive neighborhood, despite its 8% median sale price contraction. However, its drop in transactional activity was more dramatic — down 67% — closing only 15 sales compared to 46 registered in Q2 2019.

Overall, Manhattan supplied six of the city’s 10 most expensive neighborhoods and Brooklyn four. However, when looking at the 50 most expensive neighborhoods, Brooklyn had a heavier presence than Manhattan — a historic first. Specifically, of the 52 neighborhoods that had the 50 highest median sale prices of Q2, 23 were in Brooklyn versus Manhattan’s 21 neighborhoods. Queens was represented by eight.

Manhattan Snapshot: TriBeCa Retakes Top Spot, Inwood Has Lowest Median at $405K

As is most often the case, Manhattan’s three most expensive neighborhoods were also NYC’s three priciest: TriBeCa, Little Italy and SoHo. But, its competitively priced neighborhoods are often what incite the most interest here in what is, historically, the city’s priciest borough.

With a median sale price of $405,000, Inwood was Manhattan’s #1 most affordable neighborhood, following a 5% Y-o-Y drop. However, Inwood’s sales activity was halved, as was Tudor City’s, Manhattan’s #2 most affordable area. The latter posted a median sale price of $455,000 following a 10% Y-o-Y hike, which was the only year-over-year pricing gain among Manhattan’s five lowest-priced neighborhoods.

At the same time, Washington Heights underwent an 18% Y-o-Y price crunch that cemented its $468,000 median as the borough’s #3 lowest.

Brooklyn Snapshot: Sales Activity Drops Only 32% Y-o-Y, DUMBO Becomes #4 Priciest NYC Neighborhood

Three of Brooklyn’s priciest neighborhoods were among the city’s top 10 most expensive. Brooklyn’s median sale price leader, DUMBO, landed at #4 with a $2.075 million median. That came as a result of a noticeable 38% Y-o-Y increase spurred by the sale of three units at 100 Jay Street with a median of $2.45 million. At the same time, DUMBO’s sales activity was halved.

Carroll Gardens was right on DUMBO’s heels as Brooklyn’s #2 most expensive neighborhood and the city’s #5 priciest. Its median was on the rise, as well, gaining 42% Y-o-Y. However, sales activity in Carroll Gardens dropped at an even sharper rate than in DUMBO, coming in at 65% below Q2 2019.

Hitting a median sale price of $1.46 million following a 38% Y-o-Y drop, Cobble Hill was Brooklyn’s #3 priciest neighborhood in Q2 20201 and #8 city-wide. This was after a somewhat artificially inflated median in Q2 2019, elevated by the 17 sales registered at The Cobble Hill House, where the median sale price was $2.32 million.

On the other end of the borough’s pricing spectrum stood Gerritsen Beach, Coney Island and Midwood, which logged the lowest median sale prices. In particular, Gerritsen Beach was Brooklyn’s #1 most affordable neighborhood at $402,000, following a 7% Y-o-Y slide. Sales activity here dropped a mere 5% Y-o-Y, while Coney Island dropped 39% Y-o-Y.

However, Coney Island’s median gained 6% to become Brooklyn’s #2 lowest median. Meanwhile, Midwood’s 32% Y-o-Y drop pulled its median sale price down from last year’s $650,000 to $441,000 in Q2 2020, and transactional activity was slashed by 43% Y-o-Y.

All in all, the borough’s median sale price dipped 2% Y-o-Y, closing Q2 at $702,000. Notably, Brooklyn’s sales activity dropped only 32%, representing the lowest decline in transactional activity among the four boroughs.

Queens Snapshot: 34% Y-o-Y Drop Makes Briarwood Borough’s Lowest-Priced Neighborhood

In Queens, eight neighborhoods were among the city’s 50 most expensive. Nonetheless, the borough navigated a tumultuous second quarter with sales activity dropping 42% Y-o-Y. It registered only 1,365 sales, as opposed to 2,340 in Q2 2019. Queens’ median sale price, however, rose 12.3% Y-o-Y, reaching $520,000 in Q2 2020.

Fresh Meadows was its #1 most expensive neighborhood at a median sale price of $930,000, following a 9% Y-o-Y uptick. While that growth rate was lower than the borough’s 12.3% Y-o-Y gain, Fresh Meadows’s median was upheld by the type of properties that changed hands. In fact, in Q2 2020, only single-family homes were sold here, all of which sold for more than $800,000. As a result, Fresh Meadows’ $930,000 median also made it the #27 most expensive neighborhood in NYC.

Queensboro Hill was Queens’ #2 priciest neighborhood with an $893,000 median sale price. That number tied it with Manhattan’s Gramercy Park to secure the city’s #32 priciest neighborhood. While Queensboro Hill’s sales activity plummeted 60% Y-o-Y, Hunters Point saw sales surge 123%. The borough’s #3 priciest neighborhood at $890,000, Hunters Point tied Brooklyn’s Greenwood Heights for the NYC neighborhood with the second-highest gain in transactional activity.  

Queens’ #1 lowest-priced neighborhood was Briarwood at $213,000, following a 34% Y-o-Y reduction in its median sale price. Both here and in the borough’s #2 most affordable neighborhood of Corona, sales activity was halved.

Likewise, Corona’s median was also on the downswing, dropping 32% Y-o-Y to $260,000. In the meantime, Lindenwood — Queens’ #3 best-priced neighborhood — bucked the trend with a 7% Y-o-Y increase to reach $270,000 in Q2.

Bronx Snapshot: Up 13% Y-o-Y, Spencer Estates Becomes Most Expensive Neighborhood in the Bronx

As usual, the Bronx didn’t manage to make its way among the city’s 50 priciest neighborhoods.  However, it did register the sharpest pricing gain among the four boroughs, climbing 12.5% to a median sale price of $325,000, although sales activity fell 46% Y-o-Y. Its #1 most expensive neighborhood was Spencer Estates, which logged a $619,000 median after a 26% Y-o-Y price expansion. As such, it ranked as the #67 priciest NYC neighborhood.

NYC’s #74 priciest neighborhood and the Bronx’s #2 highest, Morris Park just made the cut with five sales at a $585,000 median sale price. And, with an 8% Y-o-Y pricing gain, Pelham Gardens was the #3 priciest Bronx neighborhood at $572,500, while its sales activity dipped 8%.

Tied at a median sale price of $162,500, High Bridge and Fordham became the lowest-priced neighborhoods in the Bronx. Specifically, High Bridge’s median ticked up 3% Y-o-Y with transactional activity unchanged, while Fordham’s sales were halved, and its median dropped 34% Y-o-Y.

Meanwhile, following a 16% Y-o-Y appreciation, Kingsbridge Heights became the #2 most affordable Bronx neighborhood at $185,000, while Parkchester’s 8% Y-o-Y bump gave it the #3 lowest median sale price in the Bronx at $188,750.

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