New York Tax Revenue From Property Deals Jumps Most Since March

A jump in New York City real estate deals lifted tax revenue in January, marking just the second increase since the pandemic started.

Sales of commercial and residential properties totaled $6 billion last month, up 38% from January 2020, according to a report Thursday by the Real Estate Board of New York.

That rise in transactions pushed city and state tax revenue up 31% to $191 million, fueling optimism that New York’s sputtering economy might be starting to recover. January’s increase was the biggest since last March and up from November’s 19% gain, the only other month of tax revenue growth since the pandemic shut down the city.

New York lost $1.6 billion in city and state tax revenue last year as the pandemic eroded property values and led some residents to flee to cheaper cities. Office buildings have remained largely empty, and apartment rents have fallen even as landlords offer record concessions in an effort to fill vacant units.

But January’s sales growth is an indication of progress toward recovery, REBNY said in the report. The trade group projects New York’s real estate industry will account for more than half of the city’s total tax revenue in 2021, making last month’s increase an optimistic sign.

“Tax revenue generated by the resurgence of real estate market activity will play a central role in driving the city’s economic recovery and funding basic government services that millions of New Yorkers rely on,” REBNY President James Whelan said in a statement.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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