The Real Deal New York

Why so many of New York City’s priciest apartments are empty

30 percent of apartments between 49th Street to 70th Street unoccupied 10 months per year

July 01, 2014 10:50AM

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From left: The Pierre, One57 and 15 Central Park West

From left: The Pierre, One57 and 15 Central Park West

The most expensive apartments in New York City’s wealthiest neighborhoods are often vacant for large chunks of the year.

According to a New York magazine article, citing Census Bureau data, 30 percent of apartments between 49th Street to 70th Street between Fifth Avenue and Park Avenue, are not occupied for at least 10 months out of the year.

The reason? For starters, many of these apartments are owned by wealthy foreign investors. Indeed, international investors poured $50 billion into real estate in the U.S. in 2012. But many of these overseas investors are simply looking to hide their cash — or generate big returns — by pouring their money into New York City property. Actually living in these properties for any length of time is not necessarily part of the plan.

The influx of international players has also reduced inventory and, in the process, driven values up on high-end apartments. That turn of events has priced some potential buyers out of the market.

At the same time, the new towers that are home to many of New York City’s ritziest apartments cost property developers a bundle to construct. Typically, developers need to sell these top-end apartments at prices around $5,000 per square foot. This is about 30 percent higher than the record price paid for a penthouse in 2004. At those rates, developers are finding it difficult to sell units to any but the super wealthy. And these days, that’s often buyers from budding economic superpowers like China and Russia [NY Mag] – Claire Moses 

  • Jeff Jeffries

    in other news, water is liquid

    • ralphpetrillo

      Very funny.

  • Jack Rosenfield

    This is fine with.
    The construction and maintenance of these apartments provides employment for many New Yorkers and when the owners are in NYC they spend a lot of money in restaurants and stores typically buying very expensive items that are taxed.
    Equally important these owners make minimal use of NYC resources when they are here and no use of those resources when they are away.
    I favor selling them as many overpriced apartments as they can buy.

    • Kermythefroggg

      but if this trend continues ..where will the “workers” live? P.A? 3 hour commute everyday?

      • Jack

        Not everyone need live in Manhattan.
        New apartments in Jersey City rent of sell for about 60% of Manhattan equivalent.
        Sunset Park Brooklyn rents are less than half of Manhattan

        • Kermythefroggg

          true…. but how far do you expect people to live out in the boroughs? the rents in brooklyn are higher than manhattan, it’s also a pain to commute to and from jersey.queens and the bronx is not as expensive as brooklyn but that is changing too.. I know a few people who actually moved out of the city and purchased homes outside of nyc…but they have long crazy commutes every single day.. worker bee’s are moving to the poconos , and p.a and other neighboring states while still working in the city………crazy ..but nothing is as tragic and sad as reality

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