Watch Contract Activity to see if this active season is panning out

David Goldsmith

All Powerful Moderator
Staff member
Price drops fuel bump in Manhattan’s luxury market
Largest two deals last week involved $5M discounts

Discounts and days on market.
That is what defined the biggest luxury deals in Manhattan from Aug. 17 to 23 as pandemic price drops offered a boost to an otherwise slow summer and moved properties that had sought buyers for years.
Contracts were signed for 14 homes asking $4 million or more, matching the total for the same week last year. The most expensive was a 15-room duplex at 655 Park Avenue, which was asking $12.8 million — down from $18 million when it was listed in 2018. The seller, Massimo Ferragamo, is the son of late Italian fashion designer Salvatore Ferragamo.

The second-priciest was unit 61W at 111 Murray Street, which went into contract asking $12.4 million. The property was originally listed for $18.9 million in 2015.

Discounts have been inconsistent in Manhattan’s luxury market since the pandemic hit, despite falling sales. Since the beginning of March, on average, $4 million-and-up homes for which contracts were signed had been discounted 14 percent from the original asking price and spent 633 days on the market, according to Donna Olshan, who tracks luxury deals in a weekly market report.

Many developers are holding on to pricing that ignores the pandemic and in some cases the de-inflation of the luxury market that preceded it.
“The market has got an anchor around its neck with overpriced properties,” Olshan said. “The ones are moving are the ones that reflect new market realities.”

Indeed, some deals offer a window into the tough realities of 2020 pricing. The Murray Street unit, for example, was dropped to $16.75 million in early March — before the state shutdown. In July it was lowered again, to $12.4 million.
Property records show the final asking price for unit 61W, a five-bedroom unit spanning 4,014 square feet, was significantly less than neighboring units traded for. Unit 60W, for example, sold for $14.9 million last June. Unit 58W sold last May for $14.4 million.

Jason Walker of Douglas Elliman, who represented the buyer, told Olshan his client “did not pay ask but got a fair deal.”
“He’s a local New Yorker with a family and he appreciated the views and amenities,” he added.
 

David Goldsmith

All Powerful Moderator
Staff member
"In July, new contracts for Manhattan condos priced between $4 million and $5 million were down 77 percent from the same month last year, according to a recent market report from Douglas Elliman. In the $5 million to $10 million bracket, contracts were down 39 percent. Above $20 million, there were zero."
Hudson Yards pad sells for $7M; cash-strapped MTA gets a cut
Deal comes as Manhattan’s luxury market struggles to gain ground

A luxury condo at Related Companies’ 35 Hudson Yards has sold for just under $7 million in an all-cash deal — a bright spot for the Far West Side development after months of setbacks.
The buyer is identified in the deed as David Rutter, the same name as the founder and CEO of blockchain technology company, R3.
Rutter went into contract on March 13, a little over a week before the state’s shutdown order went into effect. The deal closed on August 14. No mortgage was recorded at time of publication. Rutter did not respond to requests for comment.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is named as the seller. Related, which developed the luxury condo and rental tower with Oxford Properties, has a ground lease at the site. The arrangement means the MTA gets paid a share of the land value when a condo closes at the 71-story building.

Sales at 35 Hudson Yards launched last March. Since then, Manhattan’s already soft luxury market has been battered even further by the pandemic. In a June letter to EB-5 investors, Related cited “extremely challenging conditions for the sale of residential condominiums” as one of several obstacles it was contending with.

In July, new contracts for Manhattan condos priced between $4 million and $5 million were down 77 percent from the same month last year, according to a recent market report from Douglas Elliman. In the $5 million to $10 million bracket, contracts were down 39 percent. Above $20 million, there were zero.

Active listings at 35 Hudson Yards range from a two-bedroom unit for $4.2 million to a penthouse apartment asking $59 million.
 

David Goldsmith

All Powerful Moderator
Staff member
West Village condo has the week’s priciest two resi deals
Units at 90 Morton Street collectively asking more than $40M

In Manhattan’s fickle luxury market, one big contract is an achievement. Two in one week at the same building, these days, is almost unheard of.
But a condominium at 90 Morton Street has defied the odds, recording the two most expensive deals last week, according to the latest market report from Olshan Realty.

The number-one deal was a duplex penthouse on the building’s 11th and 12th floors, asking $33 million. It originally went into contract last January, but the buyer backed out of the deal after the pandemic hit.

The 5,254-square-foot home has five bedrooms, five and a half bathrooms and more than 2,000 square feet of terrace space.
The number-two deal was a 3,537-square-foot unit, asking $9.45 million. The buyers of the “townhouse unit,” which has its own private entrance, are local New Yorkers, according to listing broker Shlomi Reuveni of Reuveni Real Estate.

The contracts were among 11 last week in Manhattan — one higher than the same period last year. Deals have fallen overall in Manhattan, with new condo contracts down 38 percent in August from the previous year, according to a report from Douglas Elliman.

But brokers have reported an uptick of late, as warm weather draws New Yorkers from their homes and more of the city reopens. (Discounts could also be a factor, but the extent to which these are being offered won’t become clear until the deals close.)

“I have had back-to-back appointments in the building in the last three weeks, Reuveni told Donna Olshan, who authors the market report. Reuveni added that the people are “affluent, mainly local buyers, and some are bicoastal.”

In the 11 weeks since Gov. Andrew Cuomo lifted the ban on in-person showings in New York, 103 properties above $4 million have gone into contract in Manhattan, for a total value of $794.8 million, Olshan’s report shows. In the same period last year, 153 deals were signed for a total value of $1.15 billion.

“I think things are down but there is more interest and more activity — definitely,” Olshan said.
“But let’s be clear, it’s going to be a spotty market until we get a vaccine.”
 

David Goldsmith

All Powerful Moderator
Staff member
Pricey Park Slope townhouses drive dealmaking in Brooklyn
Fifteen homes asking $2 million went into contract last week

Fall is starting with a solid set of luxury contracts inked in Brooklyn.
Fifteen contracts were signed last week in the borough for a total volume of $47 million, according to Compass’ weekly report on home contracts of $2 million or more.
The final week of August saw $34 million in luxury residential contracts signed across 13 deals.

The median asking price for homes going into contract last week was about $2.5 million after an average listing discount of 3 percent and 128 days on market. The contacts were dominated by townhouse properties with 13 such deals; just two condos asking at least $2 million found buyers.

The priciest property was a five bedroom townhouse in Park Slope located at 556 1st Street. The renovated home spans 4,960 square feet and features a music studio, a media room complete with a large aquarium, a chef’s kitchen and a 2,000-book library. Its last asking price was $6 million.

The second most expensive listing to find a buyer was for another limestone townhouse two blocks away at 556 Third Street. Last asking $5.1 million, the five-bedroom home comes with three private outdoor spaces, while its interior sprawls over more than 4,300 square feet.

Despite a slowdown in transactions during the pandemic, Park Slope property prices remain among the highest in the borough, with the average price per square foot in the enclave remaining virtually unchanged year-over-year in the second quarter of 2020 at $958.

The price per square foot for the First Street and Third Street limestone row houses was about $1,200.
 

David Goldsmith

All Powerful Moderator
Staff member
Manhattan records 10 luxury deals in week after Labor Day
Weekly total is half what it was in 2018

The sparkle of Labor Day revelry fizzled out when it came to Manhattan’s luxury market this year, as the pandemic continues to wreak havoc on deals.
Just 10 contracts were signed last week for properties above $4 million, according to the latest market report from Olshan Realty. It was the same total as last year, and 10 fewer than in 2018.
“I think every week is a struggle,” said Donna Olshan, who tracks luxury sales for her weekly report. “Hats off to any of these brokers who can get deals done at a high level.”

The most expensive deal was for a duplex condo at 27 East 79th Street, asking $12.495 million. The home has five bedrooms, five and a half bathrooms and views of Manhattan’s skyline.
Pamela Johananoff of Corcoran represented both sides in the deal. She told Olshan the buyers were a foreign couple who knew the developer. They had never seen the apartment in person, but decided to buy it after three virtual tours over FaceTime.

“These people always wanted something in New York,” Johananoff told Olshan. “They have confidence in the real estate market and so they thought this was a good time to buy.”

The second-priciest deal was unit 14A at the Beckford Tower at 301 East 80th Street. The 2,615-square-foot property was last asking $6.65 million, down from $6.9 million when it was listed last summer.

Barbara Russo of Douglas Elliman, who represented the developer, Icon Realty, said the buyers visited the property three times in February and a fourth time last week.
“They have been shopping around for a while, and they love the apartment,” she said. “We expect closings to begin in the first quarter of 2021.”

Manhattan’s luxury residential market is still reeling from the pandemic — particularly the ultra-luxury end — while other areas known for having more space and greenery, including Brooklyn and the Hamptons, have seen a flurry of interest in recent months.
 

David Goldsmith

All Powerful Moderator
Staff member
Clinton Hill townhouse leads Brooklyn’s priciest contracts of the week
Five townhouses and five condos made up last week’s deals

After getting off to a strong start in September, Brooklyn’s luxury market experienced a slight dip in the past week.
The volume of high-end home contracts signed after Labor Day sunk to $33 million over 10 deals, down from 15 contracts totalling $47 million the week before.
Last week’s deals were evenly split between townhomes and condos, according to Compass’ weekly report on luxury home contracts of $2 million or more.

The median asking price across the 10 deals inked in the week following Labor Day was $3.2 million, with an average of 162 days on the market and an average drop in listing price of 3 percent.

The priciest property was a Clinton Hill townhouse at 141 Saint James Place. The five-bed, 4.5-bath property dates back to 1871, but was gut-renovated with a new kitchen and bathrooms. The two-family home spans 3,800 square feet and comes with two fireplaces and 11-foot ceilings. It was last asking $4.25 million.

The second priciest contract was a five-bedroom townhouse in Carroll Gardens that was last asking just over $4 million. The home at 380 Degraw Street was originally built in 1899 and spans more than 3,700 square feet. Original moldings have been preserved and the home has a landscaped rear garden. The home’s price per square foot — $1,100 — is in line with the average price for Carroll Gardens, which is one of Brooklyn’s most expensive neighborhoods.

Despite a slowdown in residential transactions due to the pandemic, Brooklyn’s sales and rental markets have generally fared better than Manhattan.
 

David Goldsmith

All Powerful Moderator
Staff member
Manhattan home sales down 46% last quarter
With soaring inventory and depressed contract activity, borough is faring worse than its neighbors

Strong demand to buy homes and limited supply at a national level hasn’t trickled down to the Manhattan market.
Listing inventory soared in the third quarter as the number of sales in the borough dropped by nearly half compared to the same period last year, according to Douglas Elliman’s July to September sales report. It marked the second consecutive quarter that inventory rose.
On a national level, “Manhattan was the laggard,” said appraiser Jonathan Miller, the report’s author.
Closed sales in Manhattan fell 46 percent year-over-year to 1,375, compared to 2,562 a year earlier, according to the report. That’s the sharpest drop in deals since the second quarter of 2009.

The number of transactions in Q3 ticked up a mere 1.3 percent, compared to the second quarter of the year. That’s when the city was under lockdown and the number of deals plunged in what was the sharpest decline in 30 years.

The lack of Manhattan transactions supports the pessimism some in the brokerage community expressed as the city reopened in June.

But a dearth of sales doesn’t mean agents haven’t been busy. Listing inventory in Manhattan was at its highest level since 2009, when there were 10,445 units on the market in the first quarter and 9,378 in the second quarter.
Listing inventory in the third quarter of 2020 doubled compared to the second quarter. From July through September, 9,319 co-op and condo units listed for sale, compared to 6,225 from April through June.
The year-over-year increase in the borough’s inventory is also now at 27 percent.

The surge in listings, based on the current pace of sales, has extended the absorption rate to 20.3 months, up from 13.8 months in the second quarter and 8.6 months a year ago.
But an unexpected bright spot for the quarter was pricing. Prices rose in Q3 with the median sales price jumping 7 percent year-over-year to $1.1 million. Breaking that down by asset type, resale prices were largely flat, but new developments’ median sales prices increased nearly 18 percent to $2.9 million, from $2.4 million over the same period last year.
But Miller called the rising prices a distortion that reflects contract activity during Q2’s lockdown, where higher-priced homes continued to go into contract and subsequently closed during Q3 to drive up prices.

“Closings are still more anchored to the actual Covid moment,” he said.
Contract activity in Manhattan has remained low compared to previous years, and throughout the third quarter, the majority of new contracts in the borough were signed at lower price points.
According to Elliman’s monthly report on contract activity in New York and surrounding suburbs, 233 condos in Manhattan went into contract in September, down 52 percent from a year earlier. Co-ops were down 33 percent and seven single-family homes deals were inked. The low activity makes Manhattan, once again, an outlier compared to Brooklyn and suburban areas that include Long Island, Westchester and the Hamptons, along with Greenwich and Fairfield County in Connecticut. In all those areas, contract activity has soared, according to the report, which is also produced by Miller.

But Miller noted that the growth in contract activity is starting to plateau in most suburban markets. He attributed that to pent-up demand from the dismal spring homebuying season being met over the summer.
“The question is does this outbound migration continue and, if it does, how long?” he said.
 

David Goldsmith

All Powerful Moderator
Staff member
Nearly $30M in Brooklyn luxury contracts signed last week
Buyers signed 11 contracts for homes asking $2M or more

The number of luxury contracts signed in Brooklyn last week rose to 11, a slight increase from eight the week before.
The total sales volume for the deals inked in the borough at $2 million or more was $28.6 million, according to Compass’ weekly report.

The median asking price for the properties was $2.49 million with an average listing discount of 2 percent. The eight properties spent an average of 128 days on the market. Of the contracts signed last week, six deals were townhouses, four were condos and one was a co-op unit.

The most expensive property to go into contract was a condo unit at 389 Bergen Street. Located in a circa-1910 building in Park Slope, the nearly 3,000-square-foot condo has four bedrooms, French oak wood floors and an ethanol fireplace. Its final asking price was $3.3 million.

The second priciest deal was a four-story townhouse in Bedford-Stuyvesant. The 20-foot wide home at 219 Jefferson Avenue spans more than 4,000 square feet with eight bedrooms and landscaped backyard. It was asking about $3.2 million when it went into contract.
Townhouses have been the most popular type of home among Brooklyn buyers in recent weeks, with more space both indoors and outdoors — and, typically, a lower price per square foot. Last week was no exception regarding pricing: the average price per square foot for the six townhouses that went into contract was $773, while for condos it was $1,443.
 

David Goldsmith

All Powerful Moderator
Staff member
Manhattan’s 11 luxury contracts are half previous week’s total
Fluctuations persist as market slowly rallies in “virus-dependent economy”

Buyers signed contracts for 11 luxury properties in Manhattan last week — almost 50 percent less than the previous week, a stretch that saw the highest number of deals since March.
The week-to-week drop underscores the market’s uneven path to revival, as high-end buyers slowly return to Manhattan but economic instability remains a concern.

“Every week is different and there is no trend line other than the fact that we are living in a virus-dependent economy,” said Donna Olshan, who tracks luxury deals in a weekly report. “I think the expectation is we are going to have a very, very choppy market.”
Luxury deals in Manhattan have been trending downward for several years, however the statewide shutdown in March squeezed the market so tightly that deals slowed to an average of just four per week, according to Olshan. Since the shutdown ended in June, deals have been averaging 11 per week.

In the past month, luxury brokers have reported an uptick in interest and activity, and several big-ticket properties have sold, including a $20 million penthouse at Related Companies’ High Line condominium and a $35 million penthouse at 421 Broome Street — both with sizable discounts.
But it may take some time for the market to get back to where it was: The current weekly average falls well below both the 2019 weekly average of 18, as well as the 2018 average of 21.
The priciest deal last week was a sixth-floor unit at 823 Park Avenue, last asking $9.9 million. The owner of the 4,184 square-foot unit bought it for $11.7 million in 2007.

Emily Beare of Core, who represented the family that bought the unit, told Oshan they had been looking before the pandemic but had put things on hold. They visited the property three times.
“They were uptown people,” she said. “It was the location on Park Avenue and the square footage that sold them.”
The second-priciest deal was unit 4W at 601 Washington Street, a BKSK Architects–designed building with just 10 units.
The condo now has two penthouses remaining for sale, both asking more than $30 million.
Brett Miles of Douglas Elliman, who listed unit 4W with Jade Chan, told Olshan that “good products in the West Village can survive any market.”
 

David Goldsmith

All Powerful Moderator
Staff member
September 2008: 1525 new listings, 600 contracts signed
September 2009: 1827 new listings, 920 contracts signed

September 2020: 2196 new listings, 679 contracts signed
 
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