After a difficult year and a pandemic-induced exodus of the city, Manhattan’s luxury real estate market is roaring back to life — sales in the last week have hit a high unseen in the last five years.
According to the latest report from Olshan Realty, buyers signed contracts for 38 homes priced above $4 million in Manhattan in the week of February 8 to 14. Even without the pandemic, such a large number of contracts has not been signed since the first week of August 2016, when a total of 43 contracts were signed.
The grand total of luxury real estate sold in the borough last week added up to $351.6 million, another high unseen since December 2017. Seven of those sales were co-ops, 28 were condos while the remaining three were townhouses. No condo-ops (a uniquely New York phenomenon in which a unit comes with less stringent rules than a traditional co-op) were sold that week.
The most expensive sale was the penthouse at 215 East 19th St., also known as The Tower at Gramercy Square, for $29.5 million. The sale of the nearly 7,000-square-foot, five-bedroom apartment had been planned for months. The buyers first toured it through FaceTime in March and then viewed it several times in-person in the summer and fall.
“The buyers were really specific,” Douglas Elliman listing agent Matthew Mackay said in the report, adding that the sale was delayed due to planning of how they would install a pool. “They wanted views and privacy, as well as a very large outdoor space and a pool was the priority. I have been doing this for 23 years and this was the only apartment I could think of that meets the buyers’ criteria. You can find apartments with outdoor space but nothing that affords this kind of privacy.”
The second-biggest sale was a $27.8 million duplex in the Art Deco Walker Tower in Chelsea. At 4,748 square feet, it is significantly smaller than the above-mentioned penthouse but it has four bedrooms and a 686-square-foot terrace. The seller was Michael Stern, the developer who converted the building from a former Verizon center into a condo building in 2012. He paid $16 million for the unit in 2014, and first listed it in 2019.
While luxury real estate was more immune to the effects of pandemic than the rest of the market, the slew of high-priced sales in the city indicate that demand is starting to pick up with a vengeance — a phenomenon that has largely to do with pent-up demand, low inventory and buyer confidence that the vaccine rollout will restart the economy.