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Prices for Super Rich in NYC's Costliest Condos to Reach Record High: Study

By Amy Zimmer | August 22, 2017 4:40pm
 Rendering of the view from a resident's living room at 157 W. 57th St.
Rendering of the view from a resident's living room at 157 W. 57th St.
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MANHATTAN — Prices for luxury real estate might be softening, unless you're in the top 1 percent of the 1 percent.

The average price per square foot in Manhattan’s 100 priciest condo buildings next year is expected to surpass the $3,000 threshold for the first time ever, according to an analysis released Tuesday from search engine CityRealty, which tracks Manhattan’s top condo buildings.

Prices of the 100 buildings reached an all-time high of $2,788 per square foot over the past 12 months, representing a 9 percent increase compared to the same time the year prior, the semi-annual report found.

“Even though there’s been a contraction in the market, we expect prices to go up, barring a financial crisis,” said Gabby Warshawer, director of research at CityRealty.

The prices remained high because of closings — in which the contracts may have been signed more than a year ago — at new developments such as 432 Park Ave. and One57 on the so-called Billionaire’s Row. Other condos in this rarefied market include TriBeCa’s Four Seasons Private Residences at 30 Park Place, the Financial District’s 50 West St., and the "buzz-worthy" condo conversion by design firm CetraRuddy at TriBeCa’s 443 Greenwich St., where celebrity buyers include couple Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel, Meg Ryan and Jake Gyllenhaal.

A kitchen at 443 Greenwich St. (Credit: Adrian Gaut/Courtesy of MetroLoft)

High-priced sales in “older” condo buildings such as 15 Central Park West, the West Village’s Superior Ink building, Chelsea’s Walker Tower and Columbus Circle’s Time Warner Center have also kept the prices propped up.

For instance, to buy at 15 Central Park West — the city’s most expensive building based on price per square foot — it costs an average of $7,227 per square foot in a unit, according to the City Realty analysis.

The most expensive unit sold during that time span in the Robert A.M. Stern-designed building, which sits at the corner of Central Park and West 61st Street, was $50.5 million — or $9,581 a foot.

That sale, however, wasn’t the priciest between July 2016 and July 2017. The top two sales were in the newly built 432 Park Ave., designed by Rafael Viñoly, with prices of $65.7 million ($8,152 a foot) and $65.2 million ($8,090 a foot).

However, there were fewer sales in these luxury buildings overall, with a 3 percent drop from 1,138 sales to 1,098.

“Where we might see softness is in the number of sales,” Warshawer explained. “It could be the case that fewer units are sold in a building, but we’re not going to see a huge number of price decreases.”

But there are signs of serious financial problems plaguing these super high-end buildings.

Two luxury condos at One57, the 75-foot tall tower at 157 W. 57th St. between Sixth and Seventh avenues, entered foreclosure this summer. These include one believed to be the city’s most expensive home to face such a fate — a 6,240 square feet full-floor penthouse bought for $50.9 million in 2015. 

After Nigerian oil tycoon Kolawole Aluko reportedly defaulted on his mortgage, the unit was expected to head to auction, but was put on hold along with the other unit in the building, according to reports.

Additionally, the tower under construction at 111 W. 57 St. on Billionaire’s Row — which is slated to rise 1,428-feet above the landmarked 1925 Steinway Hall, which served as the piano manufacturer’s flagship until 2014 — is facing possible foreclosure proceedings.

Last week saw a total of 14 contracts signed above $4 million, marking the eighth consecutive week with fewer than 20 luxury sales, according to a report released Monday by Olshan Realty.

"Summer bummer alert," stated the report, noting the dollar volume of those sales totaled $87.56 million, which was the lowest in 53 weeks.

No contracts were signed above $10 million, noted the report, which covers co-ops and condos.

That was the first time that happened since Hurricane Sandy, nearly five years ago, the report added.