The Historical Text Archive: Electronic History Resources, online since 1990 Bringing you digitized history, primary and secondary sources

History of New York Real Estate

You might say that the history of New York real estate began in 1524 when Giovanni de Verrazano, a European explorer sailed into the harbor of what is now New York City, where the Hudson River empties.  Or perhaps, it was the establishment of New Amsterdam, a fur trading village in what is now part of Manhattan.

However, if you ask New York historians, it was probably the insightful move of Peter Minuit, who served as his own real estate agent in the 1620’s, when he purchased what is now Staten Island and Manhattan from the local native Algonquin Indian tribe. Minuit also founded other areas of New York like what we now know as Cape Cod.  Fast forward to the latter half of the nineteenth century and New York real estate really took off with the high rate of immigrants from Europe seeking homeownership and a new life.

Based on the first U.S. census in the twentieth century, New York proved to be one of the largest states in the union with over seven and a half million people.   One hundred years later find New York State almost three times as large with almost twenty million people, about eight million alone within the boundaries of New York City! The state is as diverse as the immigrants who first set foot in this country.

Finding New York real estate is popular with retirees or vacationers looking for a second home in one of the picturesque towns nestled in one of several mountain ranges, lake or river regions.  With New York City being one of the premier financial centers in the world as well as a leader in many other areas like arts and culture, finding a place to live there is quite a challenge.  Our free New York real estate buyer's guide offers helpful hints before you go out looking for houses.