The ‘golden years’ of New York City’s luxury real-estate market are over

Jan.January 01, 2017 11:00 AM

It took two months longer on average to sell a New York City luxury apartment in 2016 compared with 2015.

That’s according to the real-estate agency Olshan Realty, which on Wednesday published its year-end report on the New York residential market.

It backed up other reports released earlier in 2016 that showed the luxury market in Manhattan, New York’s most expensive borough, had a tough year. Unlike other price segments of the housing market, there’s an excess of luxury apartments, giving buyers power to negotiate asking prices lower.

“New York City’s rental market has been mostly steady, except at the high end, where the inventory has risen and rents have drifted down,” the Federal Reserve said in a recent Beige Book based on comments from its contacts.

According to Donna Olshan, the company’s president, contract signings fell 18% in 2016 through Christmas Day, to a value of $8.94 billion, “below the golden years of new condo development: 2013-2015.”

“The decline reflects classic price resistance,” said the report.

Olshan said luxury co-ops, which tend to have tougher criteria for ownership and resale, had the steepest drop in contract signings. Contracts fell 25% year-on-year for apartments worth $4 million and up. This showed “a continuing market shift in the luxury market to new condos that offer freedom of ownership, new infrastructure, robust amenities, and some hip architecture — particularly seen downtown,” Olshan said.

The top contract signed in the week ending December 23 was in 432 Park Ave., the world’s tallest residential building. It was a three-bedroom apartment with an asking price of $17.625 million, Olshan said. Bloomberg had reported that the building sold units this year for an average of 10% less than the original listing price and may have sponsored some buyers’ taxes.

Correction: A prior version of this Business Insider article said the contract signings pre-Christmas were valued at $8.94 trillion. It was $8.94 billion.

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