Sellers standing firm in Sutton Place

Brokers say bigger price drops needed to attract buyers to exclusive Upper East Side enclave
By Katherine Dykstra | December 03, 2009 03:31PM

Burt Stavitsky of Brown Harris Stevens

Who wouldn’t want to live in Sutton Place? The prewar-laden enclave
stretches from the south side of East 52nd Street to the north side of
East 59th Street, and from Second Avenue to the river. It’s a part of
Manhattan that feels wholly unlike Manhattan. There are tree-lined
streets and blocks landscaped with tulips — all next to the East River. “It’s secluded; you can’t go any further east,” said Brown Harris
Stevens’ Gerald Crown, who has worked in Sutton Place for nearly 20
years. “I think that’s what keeps it special.” Sounds pretty nice, right? Except that sales in the area are down compared with the rest of the borough. According to data culled by StreetEasy, 18 deals closed in September
2009, the most recent month for which data was available, compared to
28 in the same month last year. That’s a drop of almost 36 percent.
Yes, the whole borough has seen sales lag. But Manhattan-wide closings
were down 25 percent over the same period, according to StreetEasy. So what gives? Evidence suggests that sellers in Sutton Place, a good chunk of them pied-à-terre owners who have decided a second apartment in the city is a luxury they can’t afford, are unwilling to make the price cuts necessary to attract buyers. Take Corcoran broker Frederick Specht’s pied-à-terre listing in 425 East 58th Street. The apartment was put on the market in June of 2008 for $2.195 million. After seven months the sellers dropped the price, lopping off $200,000. But they have resisted coming down further, and now, a year and a half later, it’s still on the market. “From our vantage point, [prices] have come down around 30 percent,” said Burt Savitsky, senior vice president at Brown Harris Stevens.

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