Defining the “trophy” home

January 28, 2011 04:36PM

15 Central Park West and (from top) Dolly Lenz, Howard Margolis and Michele Kleier

What does “trophy” really mean in New York real estate these days? The New York Times takes another look at the semantics of the market’s upper-upper-echelon this week, polling a number of the top brokers and appraisers in the city and not coming up with much of a consensus. Minimum “trophy” price tags ranged from $10 million to $45 million, with uptown trophy homes drawing higher cutoff prices than downtown ones. Prudential Douglas Elliman broker Dolly Lenz said a trophy might have any price tag, as long as the home is “without peer.” But her colleague, Elliman’s Howard Margolis said anything that’s either above $4,000 per square foot or $20 million in total constitutes a trophy sale, and Gumley Haft Kleier’s Michele Kleier said trophy values have fallen from $25 million to $15 million since the housing crisis. According to Michael Vargas, principal of Vanderbilt Appraisal Company, a trophy property is “rare, special and coveted by many, like a Picasso.” Other definitions of “trophy” homes included: “my neighbors are famous;” “an apartment in 15 Central Park West;” and “I own what you want.” [NYT]