For the record

The New York real estate records smashed in 2011
By Leigh Kamping-Carder | January 03, 2012 06:27PM

Even in a year marked by continued economic malaise, buyers, sellers, landlords, lenders, builders, investors and even tourists broke records in New York in 2011. Below, a list of the all-time highs — and lows — reached in the last year.Several developers last year made headway on towers that, when built, are set to surpass the highest points in the current skyline. The most notable, of course, is One World Trade Center, which will be New York’s tallest building when it reaches its full height of 1,776 feet.

The lofty One57 condo tower, which broke ground about six months ago, is slated to become the city’s tallest residential building at 1,000 feet, eclipsing the current residential giant: the 870-foot New York by Gehry at 8 Spruce Street.

Marriott International’s under-construction hotel at 1717 Broadway, which was announced in August, is set to become the tallest standalone hotel structure at nearly 753 feet. Meanwhile, Bruce Ratner’s Forest City Ratner recently unveiled plans to build the largest-ever prefabricated tower, which would rise 32 stories at Brooklyn’s Atlantic Yards (see story here).

Priciest office tower

One World Trade Center is not only tall — it’s expensive. Indeed, at $3.2 billion, or $1,250 per square foot, the central structure to go up as part of the World Trade Center’s reconstruction dwarfs the cost of other glitzy office buildings in the city — and the country.

Priciest retail buy

Spain’s Inditex, parent company of fashion retailer Zara, in March closed on a deal to pay $331.6 million for a 39,000-square-foot slice of a 666 Fifth Avenue retail condo, city records show. At $8,300 per square foot, it was the highest price ever paid for a U.S. retail property, according to Real Capital Analytics data.

Highest retail asking rent

In April, Vornado Realty Trust began quietly shopping the 1,402-square-foot retail space at 691 Fifth Avenue occupied by Elizabeth Arden’s Red Door Spa, sources said. Several brokers told The Real Deal at the time that the $3,000-per-square-foot asking rent for the ground-floor space was a record for Fifth Avenue, the city’s priciest retail district. The property is still available, according to Vornado’s website, but the broker handling the listing was not immediately available for comment.

Priciest residential sale

The sale of former Citigroup chairman Sandy Weill’s 15 Central Park West penthouse may be the most expensive residential deal ever. Weill put the spread on the market in November for $88 million and vowed to donate the proceeds to charity. Mere weeks later, he found a buyer. Ekaterina Rybolovleva, the 22-year-old daughter of Russian fertilizer magnate Dmitry Rybolovlev, claimed to be the purchaser, saying through a spokesperson that she plans to stay there while studying at a U.S. university. The spokesperson declined to confirm how much Rybolovleva paid, and public records on the final price won’t be available until the sale closes. But even at a generous 39 percent discount, the price would knock out J. Christopher Flowers’s 2006 purchase of the Harkness Mansion, which set the bar at $53 million.

Priciest foreclosure auction

The Henry T. Sloane Mansion at 18 East 68th Street, once on the market for $64 million, could have set a record for the city’s priciest townhouse sale. Instead, it went to billionaire Alexander Rovt at the city’s costliest foreclosure auction in June. Rovt, who also made his fortune in fertilizer, successfully bid nearly $40 million — the total owed to first mortgage lender Madison Realty Capital.

Record residential asking price

The estate of fitness mogul Lucille Roberts put the Woolworth Mansion on 4 East 80th Street up for sale in March. The $90 million asking price is the largest on record for a townhouse property (see story on here).

REIT assets

As of September, mutual funds that invest in U.S. real estate investment trusts had assets worth $96 billion, shattering the previous record of $87 billion set in February 2007, Bloomberg News reported, citing a Citi Capital Markets report. As stock values went haywire, REITs represented a relatively stable corner of the market, while paying out dividends that surpassed the yield from more conservative investments such as U.S. Treasurys.

CMBS delinquency rates

Though the delinquency rate of U.S. commercial mortgage-backed securities has stabilized since the fall, the percentage of delinquent CMBS hit a record 9.88 percent in July, according to data from market research firm Trepp.

Mortgage rates

In 2011, mortgage rates reached historic lows — and then dropped further. As of the middle of last month, government-backed mortgage lender Freddie Mac said that the 30-year fixed rate matched an all-time record low of 3.94 percent set in October, while the 15-year fixed rate had broken the October record of 3.26 percent, sliding to 3.21 percent.

Tourist volume

The number of hotel rooms in New York hit a record high of 90,000 in 2011, growing 24 percent from 2006, according to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has been pushing to increase tourism to the city. Likewise, the 50.2 million tourists who visited New York last year represented the highest number yet, topping the 48.8 million who came in 2010.