The DNAinfo archives brought to you by WNYC.
Read the press release here.

These Are the Factors That Go Into Pricing an Upper West Side Townhouse

By Amy Zimmer | September 7, 2016 8:41am

MANHATTAN — When it comes to pricing a townhouse, there’s a premium for lush private gardens, ornate details like stained glass pocket doors or intricately carved fireplaces, modern restorations with upgraded mechanical systems, and, of course, wider lots, experts said.

Because of this, townhouse prices — based on a price-per-square-foot basis — can vary widely, as shown by a recent look at current listings of Upper West Side townhouses by real estate analytics site NeighborhoodX.

UWS townhouses

The average price per square foot for Upper West Side townhouses was $1,650.

Prices ranged $1,065 for a 5,900-square-foot, 17-foot-wide fixer at 130 W. 95th St. (listed for just under $6.2 million) to $2,374 for a nearly 8,000-square-foot, 22-foot-wide mansion with seven fireplaces, four terraces, two full cooks' kitchens and high-speed elevator at 327 W. 76th St. (listed for $18.995 million).

In the past the price per square foot has gone even higher in the neighborhood, notably at the 7,200-square-foot mansion at 37 W. 70th St. that was the former residence of Rolling Stone co-founder Jane Wenner, ex of Jann Wenner. It commanded $2,493 per foot in 2015, fetching a total of $17.95 million, according to NeighborhoodX co-founder Constantine Valhouli.

“Neighborhood prices aren't monolithic or homogenous. They can range considerably even within neighborhoods,” Valhouli noted.

On the Upper West Side, other factors driving price differences include street noise and extent of renovations.

“Are we talking new kitchen cabinets?” he asked, “or something featured in Architectural Digest? A mud room or screening room?”

He added, “Perhaps most of all, there is the question of outdoor space and air rights as well, which can also affect the asking price without affecting the interior square footage on paper.”

The area’s most expensive listing in terms of total price was an 11,000-square-foot French Renaissance Revival mansion with 18 rooms, four terraces, nine gas-lit fireplaces and gym with a pool at 3 Riverside Drive, asking $19.95 million. Inside the opulent home, overlooking Riverside Park and the Hudson River, are mahogany floors, crystal chandeliers, marble fireplaces and coffered ceilings. Outside are stunning details like gargoyles and scallop shells.

3 Riverside Dr

3 Riverside Drive (Photos courtesy of Engel & Volkers NYC)

Even in the townhouse market, "curb appeal," whether it's a beautiful front door or special lighting, goes a long way, said Stuart Siegel, CEO of Engel & Volkers NYC, which is representing the sale at 3 Riverside Drive.

"The importance of curb appeal should not go unnoticed," he said. "We think curb appeal is a suburban concept, but it is equally important in New York City.”

The least expensive Upper West Side townhouse was a charming three-story 1,650-square-foot townhouse on the historic Pomander Walk at 274 W. 95th St., asking $2.295 million.

Townhouse prices, in general, have been softening, just as the rest of the city’s high-end market, said real estate expert Jonathan Miller.

Last year, the average price per square foot for Upper West Side townhouses hit $1,911, said Miller, who crunches a 10-year report on townhouse prices for Douglas Elliman.

Prices in the area — which has the smallest share of Manhattan’s townhouse market — were less than the east side from East 96th to 42nd streets, which averaged $2,374 per square foot, but more than Uptown, which averaged $559 a foot, Miller noted.

“Last year we had a little bit of a spike,” Miller said of prices. “Now, the townhouse market is soft.”

It’s also a very “niche” market, he said.

Across the city, Miller said, townhouse sales represented about 2.4 percent of all sales.